The Financial Express

Govt yet to take steps to convert trains, launches into isolation centres

Munima Sultana | Published: April 09, 2020 09:25:18 | Updated: April 10, 2020 18:19:10

— Focus Bangla file photo — Focus Bangla file photo

The government has received a number of proposals from different quarters to set up isolation centres for coronavirus-infected people to prevent further spread of the virus, as the number of COVID-19 cases is rising gradually.

The death toll from coronavirus rose to 20 with the number of infected people reaching 218. The percentage of infected among tested people is only 5.5 per cent, but the number of confirmed patients is increasing daily. During the last 24 hours, 54 people were found positive among 981 tested people.

According to reliable sources, the Ministry of Health has received several proposals from government agencies and private sector entities to utilise their abandoned spaces and unused facilities by using those as isolation centres at this moment.

But there is no initiative from the ministry so far to convert those into isolation centres, said an official.

State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, after a meeting with water-vessel owners, has said passenger launches have been readied for using as isolation centres.

Ministry of Shipping sources said they have sent a proposal in this regard to Ministry of Health after consultation with the water-vessel owners, but no such instruction came.

They said they will need a few days to convert the launches into isolation centres. They have to call launch drivers to shift the vessels to right places, as these are kept at different ghats in a congested way.

"We will have to call sarengs and move the launches by keeping ample space among these or keep them in the middle of rivers. But some medical and food facilities for the infected people will be needed," said an official of the ministry.

But, there is no discussion over the matter since the proposal was given, he added.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Railway said they are also ready to convert train cabins for keeping infected people in quarantine.

"If the government wants and instructs us, we can use the cabins as isolation places," said Railway Miinister Nurul Islam Sujon.

He, however, said the agency has not yet taken any step in this regard, as the government has not given any instruction so far.

Regarding readying the rail coaches or launches through maintaining hygiene, both the rail and shipping ministry officials said washing of cabins and launches is a matter of few hours or days.

Besides, a corporate house has proposed to set up a dedicated hospital for coronavirus patients. Proposals to covert convention centres into isolation centres have also been discussed.


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