WHO chief’s blunt and dire warning | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 15, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:21 AM, July 15, 2020

Editorial

WHO chief’s blunt and dire warning

Which way are we heading?

WHO Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus has some very bad news for us, cautioning the world that the coronavirus pandemic may get even worse if countries around the globe, and that includes most countries, fail to adhere to strict healthcare precautions. And he has statistics to back his ominous forecast. As of July 14 afternoon, there have been 13,259,473 confirmed cases of Covid-19, and 576,028 deaths.

We wonder where we are going in this regard. Admittedly, in Bangladesh the death rate has plateaued, but the number of infected cases has increased manifold as more and more people are getting tested. And we are nowhere near attaining the optimum number of tests. And when the WHO chief refers to adhering to proper precautions it may be a good idea for our planners to look at the global statistics. The two most affected countries are the US and Brazil. Of the 230,000 cases, 80 percent were from these two countries. And they have set the worst example of fighting the pandemic by disregarding the advice of health experts and failing to enforce safety measures. And that shows in the numbers. Of 230,000 new cases on Sunday, 80 percent were from 10 nations, and 50 percent from just two countries.

It is time to take a stock in Bangladesh for several reasons. Firstly, we ought to determine whether the loopholes we had to start with have been adequately plugged. Secondly, whether our current modality of work is effective or not, and thirdly, to determine the remedial measures that we should adopt to combat the pandemic. These include adopting examples of best practices of combating the virus in other countries and replicating successful containment strategies in certain areas within the country and taking timely, prudent steps, especially during the upcoming Eid.

But amidst this very sensitive situation, we are dismayed to see the line ministry and its most important department, the Ministry of Health and DGHS, at loggerheads, with no one taking responsibility of the horrendous scandal of fake Covid-19 tests by hospitals that has risked lives and pulled back our efforts to fight the pandemic. That everything is not well with either is clear, but instead of pulling up their socks, we see them going at each other. That is not only unexpected but also undesirable, and will frustrate the ongoing fight against Covid-19.

We feel that the Prime Minister's direct intervention is needed here, since there is a need to clean up the mess that both the ministry and DGHS are in and ensure that our fight against the virus is in efficient and good hands, which currently it is not.    

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