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Govt devises battle plan on second Covid wave

Deaths cross 5,000

FE REPORT | September 23, 2020 00:00:00

The government will tackle second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, if it occurs in the country, by keeping the economy vibrant, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said on Tuesday.

Besides, the government will strengthen measures to implement the required health guidelines and clinical treatment arrangements, he said, after emerging from an inter-ministerial meeting.

Highlighting large-scale awareness to stem spread of the pandemic, the cabinet secretary also said the ministries were asked to submit their own work-plans by seven to ten working days to curtail the possible second coronavirus wave.

In terms of enforcement of the health guidelines, he noted that they will make a work-plan on how the law-enforcement agencies will respond to the situation.

The cabinet secretary also informed that monitoring of incoming and outgoing passengers at airports will also be intensified.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is preparing for an emergency meeting with the stakeholders concerned to chalk out a concrete plan of actions to handle the possible second wave.

Officials at the ministry said they will call the urgent meeting within a few days, as fear of the pandemic's second phase looms large among healthcare experts.

When contacted, Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque confirmed the development with the FE correspondent.

He said many people, including healthcare professionals and policymakers, now fear a second wave of the deadly viral attack in the coming month, taking recent experiences of some of the western countries into consideration.

Even the National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC), which was formed to advise the government to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, also issued such warnings. It suggested taking precautionary measures to control the possible disaster that may take place.

"I will call an emergency meeting very shortly with all the stakeholders concerned to make a concrete plan of actions," the minister said, without disclosing the meeting date.

Mr Maleque noted that they are analysing existing data of the coronavirus outbreak in Bangladesh and other countries.

There will be definitely some new directives and actions in the upcoming response plan to tackle the pandemic.

"But it should be tuned according to our country's current health situation, people's mindset, and weather condition as well," he concluded.

Secretary of Health Services Division Md Abdul Mannan said they are considering expanding Covid-related healthcare facilities like isolation centers, benefits of healthcare professionals, and number of hospitals.

"We are well aware of the situation," he added.

The moves come after the Prime Minister urged the administration to take preparations in advance to face the situation in field level, if the pandemic's second wave hits the country in the upcoming winter season.

The warning came at a time when the death and infection numbers crossed 5,000-mark and 0.35 million respectively in the country that was ranked 15th in the world as far as the viral attack is concerned.

In the last 24 hours, ending on Tuesday noon, some 1,557 new cases were recorded across the country along with 28 deaths, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

With the numbers, the overall number of infections and fatalities rose to 3,52,178 and 5,007 respectively, and the infection rate among 18,48,487 tests stood at 19.05 per cent.

At the same time, 2,073 patients recovered during the period, taking the tally of recovery to 2,60,790.

Globally, over 31.5 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus, and 9,70,353 have died until Tuesday 8:15 pm, according to Worldometer info.

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