Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has once again called upon people to always wear face masks while out of the home as it reduces Covid-19 infection risks.
She made the call during an unscheduled discussion at the cabinet meeting yesterday. The PM joined the virtual meeting from the Gono Bhaban through a video conference.
Briefing reporters after the meeting at the secretariat, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said, "We have once again seen a rise in Covid-19 cases in the USA and Europe. That's why the prime minister has asked all to be more careful and use face masks."
Mentioning that using masks at public places is mandatory, he said, "If we use mask, the chance of getting infected reduces. We have seen people's relaxed attitude towards using masks and that's why we need to create awareness."
Replying to a question, Anwarul said the divisional commissioners and Islamic Foundation have already been instructed to take steps to make people aware of using masks.
The divisional commissioners have been advised to operate mobile courts, if needed, to ensure the use of face masks, he added.
The cabinet meeting yesterday discussed three issues according to its agenda. The issues were: third quarterly report on implementation of the cabinet's decisions, approval of a draft contract between Bangladesh and Austria on flight services and the foreign minister's recent tour to Turkey.
The cabinet secretary said due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the rate of implementation of the cabinet's decisions has reduced by 12 percentile points to 46 in the third quarter of this year compared to the rate of the previous year.
Comparing to the rate of July-September period of 2019, the cabinet has taken more decisions during the same period this year, he told reporters.
"Although the rate of implementation was low, the cabinet has expressed satisfaction over the report," said Anwarul.
He said the cabinet last year had taken 258 decisions and 238 of those were implemented. This year, the cabinet has taken 169 decisions till September and 116 of those have been implemented.
Talking about the second issue discussed at the cabinet meeting, the cabinet secretary said Bangladesh and Austria would be able to operate seven passenger and cargo flights a week between the two countries once the contract is finalised.
He said the initiative will ease Dhaka's communications with Vienna where several UN offices are located.
A team, led by Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, recently visited Turkey after the inauguration of Bangladesh Chancery Complex in Ankara by PM Sheikh Hasina.
The foreign minister briefed the cabinet meeting about his visit.
Quoting Momen, the cabinet secretary said Turkey was keen to see a solution to the Rohingya crisis and it assured Bangladesh of help in this regard.
The Turkish government also showed interest in investing more in Bangladesh, he added.