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The world is grappling with a lethal virus as the New Year arrives at our door. The COVID-19 virus that first broke out in 2019 in China spread all over the world gradually. The pandemic continued across the year 2020 and now the second wave of the infection has attacked as winter has started in various parts of the world. Coronavirus claimed 1.8 million lives worldwide so far. The number of deaths due to the virus is 7,559 in Bangladesh. Now the New Year is here. We wish to welcome 2021 with new hope and dreams. We wish a very happy new year to all.

Upon arrival of every new year we look back in retrospect at our achievements, mistakes and failure of the previous year. We do that to learn from the past. COVID-19 broke out in the country in March 2020. First detected on 8 March, the fatal infection spread all over the country gradually. We failed take the necessary measures in time. Despite the announcement of a general holiday, the authorities could not control people’s movement. It was also difficult to impose an actual lockdown in the country.

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Economic activities were vastly hampered while a large amount of people lost jobs. Some might not have lost jobs, but had salary cuts. The readymade garment industry counted losses and a good number of workers had to return to the country due to lay-offs. Yet our economy experienced less losses than was expected. The RMG sector recovered from the losses well. We are ahead of India and Pakistan in GDP growth.

But we drastically failed to fight the health related changes arisen in the pandemic. The pandemic showed us the mired condition of our health sector. The entire sector broke down to combat the infection and it could not recover as yet. The situation exacerbated with the outrageous irregularities and corruption by quarters within the health sector.

The COVID-19 situation in the country worsened as the winter began in the country. We need to try to boost our health system to curb the infection. The second wave will continue for some days and it is necessary to ensure that people follow the health rules.

2021 will be the golden jubilee of our independence. We should focus on building the country that was dreamt by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. May the pandemic end and new days begin with hope and prosperity.

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