Intensity of Covid-19 likely to increase in winter: PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. File Photo

Although the intensity of Covid-19 pandemic has decreased a bit at present, it is likely to increase in the coming winter, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told parliament today.

The prime minister issued the note of warning quoting the opinion of the health experts while replying to lawmakers' queries in the House during the question-answer session.

The question-answer session was tabled today with Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair.

Replying to a question from ruling Awami League MP Didarul Alam of Chittagong-4, the prime minister said the Covid-19 pandemic has been successfully tackled so far with the visionary leadership of the government, prudent decision-making and efficient management.

"Although the incidence of Covid-19 in Bangladesh has decreased a bit at this moment, experts opined that it may increase again in the coming winter. The second wave of Covid-19 has already started in Europe and America," Hasina said in her reply.

Noting that extensive preparations have been taken to deal with the second wave of Covid-19 and the fear of an increase in infections in the winter, the prime minister said the government has given instructions to implement "no-mask, no-service" policy to contain the expansion of Covid-19 infection in the upcoming winter season.

"Screening continues at points of entry in the country. 14-day quarantine has been made compulsory for foreign returnees. Activities are being carried out according to the action plan taken for prevention and control of Covid-19," she added.

The premier also said a tripartite agreement has been signed with the government, Serum Institute of India and Beximco Pharma to import three crore vaccines.

Replying to a query of AL MP AKM Rahmatullah, the prime minister informed the House that during the Covid-19 period, the government has been able to arrange emergency financing from development partners on an emergency basis.

PM informed parliament that Bangladesh is receiving financial assistance of Tk 2,720 crore as emergency assistance from Japan to combat the coronavirus.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing US$ 800 million to deal with prevention of Covid-19 and the ADB is providing another US$ 30 million to procure coronavirus vaccines and medical equipment, Sheikh Hasina added.

She also said the World Bank has provided US$ 105 million for employment during the Covid-19 period.

"We have also received €110 million from the European Union for the garment sector. Germany and the European Union have pledged to provide € 113 million for the garment and leather industries."

She also said that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has approved a loan of US$ 100 million.

Replying to a question from Fakhrul Imam of Jatiya Party, Hasina said all law enforcement and intelligence agencies -- including the police -- have been working round the clock through mutual coordination to bring all those involved in sabotage and violenct activities under the law and take appropriate legal action against them.

In reply to another query, the prime minister said the trend of increasing crop production has been continued by adopting the policy of bringing every inch of land under cultivation, despite climate change and Covid-19 pandemic.

She said Bangladesh has risen from the fourth place to the third place in the world in rice production. "As a result, food security in the country has been strengthened."

Besides, Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is a role model in agricultural development in the world today as the country remains in 3rd place in vegetable production, 7th place in mango production, 8th place in potato and guava production.


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