Prime minister Sheikh Hasina addresses a meeting of the Awami League Central Working Committee at her official Gonobhaban residence, Dhaka on 3 October 2020
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina addresses a meeting of the Awami League Central Working Committee at her official Gonobhaban residence, Dhaka on 3 October 2020PIB

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said the government has been able to put coronavirus under control in the country as different ministries and government organisations, including the health ministry and Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), worked in a synchronised way with utmost sincerity.

“Some people are saying many things regarding the health directorate or health ministry… whatever I’ve directed them on an emergency basis they did that. They worked properly… that’s why we’ve been able to put coronavirus under control,” she said.

The prime minister said this in her introductory speech at a meeting of the Awami League Central Working Committee at her official Gonobhaban residence.

We’ve to work… we’ve to procure various materials, we’ve to provide treatment to people, we’ve to go to people and that’s the most important thing. There is no need to follow all the rules when it comes to emergency matters. If anyone falls into any trouble for anyone, we’ll look after that
Sheikh HasinaSheikh Hasina

Sheikh Hasina said when she directed them to do anything on coronavirus-related issues she asked them to work promptly bypassing the mandatory government rules as those were very much urgent to provide medical services to the people of the country.

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“We’ve to work… we’ve to procure various materials, we’ve to provide treatment to people, we’ve to go to people and that’s the most important thing. There is no need to follow all the rules when it comes to emergency matters. If anyone falls into any trouble for anyone, we’ll look after that,” she said.

Hasina said the government recruited 2,000 physicians and 3,000 nurses along with some technicians on an emergency basis to provide medical services to patients.

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“I asked the finance and public administration ministries and other related ministries to sit together. I gave the decision and signed papers instantly to recruit these physicians, nurses and technicians,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina, also the chief of the ruling Awami League, said the government relaxed some rules in this connection as the country needs more physicians, nurses and technicians to face the coronavirus.

In the initial stage, she said, the government made an estimate of how many people could be infected with coronavirus, how many people need to be taken into quarantine, and prepared hospitals based on that estimate.

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“We prepared hospitals up to district level with oxygen supply facilities and ICUs as soon as possible,” she said.

The prime minister thanked all the government organisations and Awami League and its associated bodies for their coordinated and sincere efforts to help people unitedly.

“It’s only the Awami League from which people get cooperation. Had there been any other party (in power), numerous people would have died, people would have undergone indescribable sufferings.”

Sheikh Hasina thanked the farmers of the country for their all-out efforts in producing food grains for which the country did not plunge into any food shortage

She also said the example of such coordinated and sincere efforts is rare in the country.

Talking about the problems of expatriate Bangladeshis in different parts of the world, the prime minister said the government tried to ease their sufferings and even sent special aircraft to bring them back home. “They’re the children of this soil… we see them as human beings… we’ve provided incentives to them abroad through our ministry concerned.”

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The prime minister said the global economy had stalled due to coronavirus. “The government tried to keep the wheels of the country’s economy moving. We’ve announced our national budget, we didn’t reduce the budget largely, we’ve enlarged it from the previous one… placing an over Tk 5 trillion budget was a tough one… we said we’ll spend on a limited scale, we’ll do what we need the most, we placed a budget to keep our economy in shape.”

She also mentioned that the government gave stimulus packages for everyone -- whoever needed that.

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Sheikh Hasina thanked the farmers of the country for their all-out efforts in producing food grains for which the country did not plunge into any food shortage.

She also expressed her sincere thanks to Bangladesh Chhatra League, Juba League, Swechhashebak League, Krishak League and the AL leaders and activists for extending their cooperation to the farmers during the paddy harvesting.

Regarding the party politics, the AL chief said organisational power is the main thing and AL’s organisational power at the grassroots level has been proved again during this COVID-19 pandemic.

She said some 522 AL leaders and activists laid their lives during the pandemic. “No other political party made such a great sacrifice, they just do their lip services, they were not seen standing beside people in the field.”

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The prime minister also mentioned that there are so many organisations in the country which usually help the poor people, but in this pandemic situation their activities were not seen.

“This is the reality, all were at their houses… no one was beside people. AL was beside people as it’s the party of the mass people… it works for the welfare of people, we’re beside people and will always remain with them,” she added.

During this pandemic, Hasina said, it was again proved that AL is the party of the people. “Trust and confidence of people are our only assets and that’s our only source of power.”

She also said the government has to face the calamities like COVID-19, cyclone Amphan, flood and riverbank erosions on one hand and it had to run the economy, stay beside people, change their fate and give them a better life on the other. “We’re working, we are trying our heart and soul.”

Hasina asked the party leaders to continue their communication with the field-level leaders and workers. “Give the people of the country the confidence that AL is beside them…we’ll be there with people as AL always works for people,” she added.