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Coronavirus pandemic and the role of the Bangladesh government

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Coronavirus pandemic and the role of the Bangladesh government

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

Coronavirus pandemic is already rattling the entire world. Western nations, which had boasted of having technological supremacy and most advanced medical facilities are already exposed to the world as a mere empty vessel. A number of infected patients as well as deaths in countries like the United States, Britain, Italy, Spain, France, Sweden etcetera are at the top of the list and it is increasing every hour. Most possibly Britain is going to surpass all other countries in the world as the worst affected nation due to coronavirus pandemic. It is needless to say that the Muslim community in Britain has greatly contributed to the spread of coronavirus almost as bonfire due to mass-crowd and gatherings in the mosques, defying government’s restrictions on government’s restrictions. In India, Tablighi Jamaat congregation has played a key role in the massive spread of coronavirus, as those Muslim attendees of the Tablighi Jamaat were asked by the top clerics to wage #coronajihad against the Hindus and infect millions so that India comes under the commands of Islam.

Coronavirus: The Bangladesh case

Immediately after the outbreak of coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) had forecasted the death of over two million people in Bangladesh due to the pandemic. According to experts, this report is based on information provided by a bunch of anti-Bangladesh elements as well as some members of Jamaat-e-Islami and other radical Islamic organizations.

Let us remember, Bangladesh is amongst one of the most densely populated countries in Asia, while it hosts the biggest refugee camp in the world. Since 2017, over one million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are sheltered in Bangladesh, who had fled their own country following extreme cruelty and genocide. Naturally, for a country with over 180 million people and the presence of such a huge number of refugees (which had already been termed by several international media as a time bomb), it is not an easy task for Bangladesh in tackling the coronavirus crisis.

Despite this reality, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been very transparent to her people about the challenges posed by the coronavirus. Two other leaders in the world, who too deserve credit for a similar approach are, President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping.

Chinese leadership has very efficiently handled the coronavirus crisis and now they already are emphasizing in resuming production in the factories eyeing a possible huge growth of demands for Chinese products immediately after the coronavirus pandemic is gone.

President Donald Trump also has rightly adopted the policy of avoiding country-wide lockdown, as such actions would have left a tremendous negative impact on the country’s economy. Although the number of coronavirus patients and the death toll is pretty high in the United States, we need to remember, sooner or later, there will definitely be a medicinal remedy to this virus, but, once the economy would have collapsed, it will take many years to recover.

Bangladesh currently is under lockdown, where industrial productions, especially in the readymade garment sector is on pause. If the lockdown will be further extended, Bangladesh may not only suffer from an economic crisis, but it will also lose the grand opportunity in the export trade immediately after the coronavirus crisis. On the other hand, in my personal opinion, the ongoing lockdown in Bangladesh is seeing a little impact, as most of the people are regularly violating the government’s instructions for staying at home and avoiding mass gatherings. The government can only get the best result from the lockdown only if a countrywide curfew for 72 hours or more can be imposed forthwith. At the same time, the government needs to assign police and armed forces in handling the relief operation, while individuals and organizations should be instructed to refrain from distributing food and other materials to the people and deposit their donations to the relief operation fund of the government.

It may be mentioned here that, hundreds of people are seen gathering on street-sides and other places in the hope of getting relief. Such gatherings can only contribute to increasing community transmission. Once the relief work is handled by police and armed forces and those materials are directly delivered at the homes of the target people, it will stop such gatherings of the relief-seekers.

News and social media also are reporting incidents of robbery of relief materials in various parts of the country. Some vested interest groups are trying to paint such incidents as a “sign of famine”, though these are nothing but mere anti-government propaganda. According to my own sources, those who are involved into such incidents of robbery of relief materials are members of organized crime gangs, while some notorious political forces such as Jamaat-e-Islami and jihadist groups such as Hizbut Tahrir, Hizbut Towheed etcetera are behind such crimes. Whatever the fact may be, such incidents are greatly tarnishing the image of the government and it is the responsibility of the country’s intelligence agencies to immediately identify the causes and forces behind such notoriety and appraise the Prime Minister about such issues.

Currently, Bangladesh’s health ministry is headed by a rather unknown physician named Dr. Zahid Malek, while the Bangladeshi cabinet has a member named Dr. Dipu Moni in the education ministry. Due to the lack of due experience of the current health minister, there are a number of problems already arising, which include the daily briefing of the health ministry. The unfortunate fact is, the briefings conducted by the health minister and the ministry are pretty naïve and lacks due diligence, which would only contribute to confusion and doubts.

Dipu Moni is a physician, who has completed masters at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, and also had studied law at the University of London. For obvious reason, individuals like Dr. Dipu Moni is essential to lead the Health Ministry or at least be assigned to look into the coronavirus situation as the current health minister evidently has failed in doing so.

When Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her entire administration are working day and night in tackling coronavirus crisis, some bad elements are seen enthusiastically busy in spreading rumors and lies against the government in the social media, thus giving instigations of revolt to the masses. At the same time, some Islamist clerics are regularly spreading videos on YouTube and other platforms calling upon the people to violate the lockdown, while others even are making frantic bids in branding the government as “enemy of Islam” as the authorities, as part of its actions to save people from being infected, were compelled to stop them from gathering in the mosques for offering prayers.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is doing everything for saving the nation from a mass effect of coronavirus and saving the country from a similar fate of the Western nations. It is only because of her magnanimous leadership qualities; the nation is until now saved from an unimaginable catastrophe. During this extremely difficult and challenging situation, the country’s intelligence community needs to exhibit its excellence by appraising the Prime Minister with ground realities. They must remember, their failures would only lead the entire nation towards uncertainty and unknown fate.

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-jihadist journalist, counter-terrorism specialist and editor of Blitz

Blitz’s Editorial Board is responsible for the stories published under this byline. This includes editorials, news stories, letters to the editor, and multimedia features on WeeklyBlitz.net

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