The government has decided to reward doctors, nurses and health workers who have dedicated themselves with courage in the fight against coronavirus, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced today.
"I want to reward those who have been engaged directly in the fight against Covid-19 since March," she said.
The PM said this while delivering her introductory speech in a video conference with public representatives and officials from 15 districts under Chattogram and Sylhet divisions from her official residence Gono Bhaban.
In addition, she said there will be health insurance for them if they are infected with Covid-19 while discharging their duties, which will be Tk 5-10 lakh.
"If anyone dies, the amount of the health insurance will be five times higher," she said.
"But remember that this incentive will be applicable for those who have been working [amidst the coronavirus outbreak] since March, putting their lives in danger," she added.
If any employee of the state is infected while performing duties, the government will bear all treatment costs, she said.
The PM said she has spoken to the finance minister and the finance secretary in this connection. "I've already instructed to prepare a list in this connection. We need to encourage them and we want to honour them."
She criticised a section of doctors for not providing treatment to patients in the pretext of keeping themselves safe from Covid-19.
"This incentive is not for those who left patients to go from door to door for treatment," she said.
"Work now, deploy yourselves during this difficult time. We'll be observing you for the next three months. If anyone really provides service to the people, we'll consider them," she said.
"…We'll bring doctors and nurses from abroad if necessary, but we can't achieve anything with a weak mentality. This is the reality," she said.
She categorically said that doctors have to provide treatment if any patient comes. "Yes, you can secure yourselves, but why should the patients return [unattended], why should patients die after going door to door for treatment, why did a student of Dhaka University die?" she questioned.
She termed the incident "painful and regretful".
The PM said she has instructed to collect the names of doctors who were on duty when the DU student went for treatment.
"They don't have the ability to provide treatment. I think they should be sacked from their jobs," she said.
She added that she knows very well that Covid-19 is a matter of grave concern around the world.
"Everyone has to remain safe. A doctor has his/her responsibilities and we have taken appropriate measures for them. We're providing the [protective] materials they need and if necessary, we will give more. We're making safety materials at home and importing from abroad," she said.
The PM highly appreciated the doctors, nurses and health workers of the government hospitals for their outstanding service.
"I'm conveying my sincere gratitude to them… They came forward and worked hard -- knowing the risks… They provided service to the infected patients, risking their lives," she said.
She also thanked the field-level government officials, employees, law enforcing agencies, army personnel and others for their efforts.
"As a result, so far, we are able to keep this under control. This has not spread widely and the health situation is under control due to everyone's efforts," she said.
Sheikh Hasina termed the month of April "critical" and urged all to work unitedly.
"As per several predictions, this month will be critical for us. We have to remain alert so that we suffer less due to Covid-19," the PM said.