‘Announcing general holidays instead of lockdown a mistake’
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Wednesday said the government made a mistake by announcing only general holidays from March 26 instead of enforcing a lockdown to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
"Though we’ve repeatedly called for enforcing lockdown, the government announced general holidays which put people in holiday mood,” he said at an online press conference, reports UNB.
“The government made a blunder by not enforcing the lockdown and it has only deepened the coronavirus problem,” Fakhrul said.
He said it is not comprehensible why the government did not announce lockdown when other coronavirus-affected countries did so. "I think the reason behind it is their inexperience and indifference ... they (the govt) tried to mean that we don’t have any problem here.”
Bangladesh has so far recorded 38,292 coronavirus cases and 544 deaths. On Wednesday, the health authorities reported 1,541 new cases and 22 more deaths.
The BNP leader said although the government enforced cluster lockdown in different areas of the country, it was not enough to tackle the situation.
"We think the infection of the virus would have been much less had the government properly implemented the lockdown at the initial stage. There’s now no village that has not been affected,” he observed.
Fakhrul said the extent of the spread of the virus could not be known due to the country’s poor testing capacity.
Stating that Bangladesh is a densely populated country, he said it will be difficult to tackle the coronavirus here without strictly enforcing lockdown.
The BNP leader also trashed ministers’ comments that BNP has been criticising instead of standing beside the poor and needy people, saying the ruling party leaders are not speaking the truth.
He said their party has so far provided around 1.25 crore people with relief materials.
Fakhrul said they are not criticising the government and are only trying to detect the flaws of the government so that it can take proper steps.
He bemoaned that though Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury’s institution Gonoshasthaya Kendra developed coronavirus testing kit, the government is yet to approve it.
The BNP leader wished Dr Zafrullah a swift recovery from coronavirus.
He urged the government to immediately allow using Rapid Dot Blot kit developed by Gonoshasthaya Kendra after completion of its performance study.