‘Winter is coming’
Expressing apprehension that the Covid-19 situation may deteriorate to some extent during the upcoming winter, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked everyone to bolster preparation to fight the pandemic in wintertime.
"Winter is coming. The situation may deteriorate to some extent. But we've to take preparation from right now," she said while receiving donation of Tk 165.6 crore for the PM's Relief and Welfare Fund from over 40 organisations.
She joined the function through a videoconference from her official residence Gano Bhaban as the representatives of the organisations handed over cheques to PM's Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus at the Prime Minister's Office.
Of them, 34 commercial banks, led by Bangladesh Association of Bank (BAB), provided total Tk 164 crore as donation.
Sheikh Hasina said everyone has been working with utmost sincerity to fight Covid-19 pandemic in the country. "That's why we've been able to face it."
Bangladesh has so far recorded 347,372 cases with 4,913 fatalities. The first cases were reported on March 8 and the first death on March 18. So far, 254,386 patients have recovered, pushing the recovery rate to 73.23 percent.
Currently, there are 88,073 active cases in the country.
Globally, the coronavirus caseload reached 30,673,633 on Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University (JHU) tally with 955,404 deaths.
Coronavirus cases were first reported in China in December last year. The World Health Organization declared it a pandemic in March.
There is currently no vaccine for coronavirus but a number of promising candidates are in the final stage of trial.
'Want banks to run properly'
Talking about the banks, she hinted that the weak banks will be merged following proper assessments, if necessary.
"There are some banks that became very weak. In many cases, merging is essential. In that case, it'll have to be considered which bank is functioning properly or not. It'll be done considering these things. Keep trust [on government] that nothing will be done without consideration [assessment]," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government had taken the decision to permit banks in the private sector and it gave the permission to the highest number of the private banks, which created huge employments and expanded trade and business.
She said her government had taken measures to make the people habituated to the banking system up to the rural level so that they can make transactions using the banking channels.
In this context, the prime minister mentioned that her government created scope for the farmers to open a bank account with Tk 10.
"So, we want that the banks to run properly … We always consider all of your logical demands that you bring [before me]," she said.
Other organisations that made donations are Food Ministry, Foreign Officers Spouse Association (FOSA), Rajshahi Medical University, Institute of Architects Bangladesh, Bangladesh Judicial Employees Association and Minister Group.
Alongside the cash money, Minister Group provided 100,000 surgical masks.
The 34 banks are – AB Bank Ltd, Al-Arafah Islami Bank Ltd, Bank Asia Ltd, BRAC Bank Ltd, City Bank Ltd, Dhaka Bank Ltd, Dutch-Bangla Bank Ltd, Eastern Bank Ltd, EXIM Bank, First Security Islami Bank Ltd, Islami Bank (Bd) Ltd, Jamuna Bank Ltd, Mercantile Bank Ltd, Midland Bank Ltd, Modhumoti Bank Ltd, Mutual Trust Bank Ltd, National Bank Ltd, NCC Bank Ltd, NRB Bank Ltd, NRB Commercial Bank Ltd, NRB Global Bank Ltd, One Bank Ltd, Padma Bank Ltd, Prime Bank Ltd, Pubali Bank Ltd, SBAC Bank Ltd, Shahjalal Islami Bank Ltd, Social Islami Bank Ltd, Southeast Bank Ltd, Standard Bank Ltd, Trust Bank Ltd, Union Bank Ltd, United Commercial Bank Ltd and Uttara Bank Ltd.
The prime minister thanked the organisations for their contributions to the PM's Relief and Welfare Fund.