Six months of COVID-19: Review of govt's performance needed

Six months of COVID-19: Review of govt's performance needed
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Tuesday (8 September) marked six months since the first case of novel coronavirus was detected in Bangladesh.

As of Tuesday, as many as 329,251 people contracted the virus while 4,552 among them died, meaning 227,809 recovered from the highly infectious disease.

In terms of number of patients, we were 14th while in terms of COVID-19 deaths we were 29th.

The rate of infection was 19.90 per cent over the six months and experts say the rate is so high because the virus is being transmitted at the community level.

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We feel that there should be a review on the government's efforts in containing the disease. If we can detect the failures and act accordingly, we may be able to do better in the future.

We have seen in the last six months that the medical sector collapsed when the virus attacked the country. People who had other ailments also suffered and did not get treatment despite going from hospital to hospital. It was the same at both government and private hospitals.

We have also seen the height of irregularities prevailing in the sector. From N-95 mask to personal protection equipment and coronavirus tests, in every case endless corruption reigned supreme. This has tarnished the image of the country.

Despite repeated directives from the WHO, the authorities did not take steps to ensure adequate number of tests. Initially only the government agencies ran the tests and no private entities were allowed to do them. The government did not try to set up laboratories at the district level either. As many as 38 districts have no government or private laboratories to run coronavirus tests.

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Failure to ensure a lockdown in its true sense has led to big scale spread of the disease and many outside the capital contracted the virus. Experts say Bangladesh run the risk

First, the number of tests has to be increased. Spread of the virus at the community level needs to be contained. The government needs to make sure people maintain social distancing rules and wear masks everywhere. The NGOs and local platforms should help the local government entities to spread the message.

The medical facilities need to be improved, including ensuring oxygen supply and setting up more ICUs. The authorities should try to help the medical system win back the trust of the people. Because many patients are brought to the hospital at the very end, where there is little left to do. Transparency and accountability have to be ensured in all spheres of the sector as well.

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