Khaleda Zia awaits government’s green signal

Family members of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief Khaleda Zia are waiting for government’s green signal, her doctors said, her health condition might not be “stable enough” for a long flight.

Khaleda Zia’s travel abroad also depends on renewal of her passport, and visa from the destination country. Meanwhile, it is unclear whether Britain would allow a COVID positive Khaleda Zia to visit the country along with her personal staffs, who also were infected. But BNP sources told a local newspaper that Khaleda’s family members received “a positive signal” from the UK government regarding her treatment in a London hospital.

Khaleda Zia’s passport expired in 2019. Her fingerprint and signature are required on the passport for renewal. But according to sources, the rule has been relaxed in her case. Meanwhile, a family source of the former prime minister said, she already has got her passport renewed and now is waiting for government’s green signal.

BNP’s Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir yesterday urged the government to look at the matter from a humanitarian perspective and make the arrangements needed to send Khaleda abroad for treatment of her post-COVID complications.

A BNP source said Khaleda Zia’s family and party senior leaders are in touch with the High Commissions and Embassies of different countries, including that of the UK, Singapore, Thailand and the UAE, to have multiple visas as there are restrictions on entry from Bangladesh to different countries due to coronavirus.

It said Thailand and the UAE are the available options for her since those countries have no travel restriction, but her family members are eager to send her either to the UK or Singapore.

The 76-year-old BNP chief, who tested positive for Covid-19 for the second time on 24 April, was admitted to Evercare Hospital three days later for a thorough health checkup.

She was shifted to the CCU of the hospital with shortness of breath around 4:00 pm on Monday. Her breathing problem later eased.

On 28 April, a 10-member medical board, headed by professor Shahabuddin Talukder, was formed for the treatment of Khaleda at the Evercare Hospital a day after her admission there.

Khaleda Zia tested positive for Covid-19 on 10 April as eight people at her residence were infected with the virus. She underwent the second Covid-19 test on 24 April and her report was positive.

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the government freed Khaleda Zia from jail for six months through an executive order suspending her sentences on 25 March last year. Later, the order was extended twice.

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