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‘Digital Bangladesh campaign facilitating fight against COVID-19’

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The ‘Digital Bangladesh’ campaign of the ruling Awami League is playing important role during the time of crisis due to coronavirus pandemic, as millions of people are availing online services.

Speakers came up with the statement while speaking at a webinar through the Awami League’s official Facebook page on Friday night moderated by Barrister Shah Ali Farhad, a special assistant of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

According to UNB, State minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak said over 8.5 million people visited the website - corona.gov.bd - in 60 days of its launching since March 20.

“We have received over 7.4 million phone calls for information and services in our 333 number which was launched by Prime Minister’s adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy in 2018,” he said, adding that people are also using the coronavirus testing tool app.

According to UNB, Digital Bangladesh was the campaign slogan of the Awami League before the 2008 elections when there was low internet penetration, and inadequate electricity generation in the country.

Bangladesh is now one of the top countries in the world in terms of improvement and remarkable growth in digital economy.

Information Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud said they had been transmitting the messages through radio, television, and newspapers from the beginning.

“We have started the campaign even before the outbreak in our country,” he said, adding that they had involved all relevant stakeholders such as doctors, celebrities, actors, and actresses in that effort.

Famed psychologist Prof Mehtab Khanam, Director of the Health Department’s Communicable Disease Control programme Prof Shalina Ferdous, Head of Dhaka Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit Monirul Islam, actor Riaz Ahmed and journalist Farzana Rupa spoke at the panel among others.

It was the first episode of a series of webinars the Awami League will host to make the public aware of the pandemic.

The number of virus cases is close to 30,000 with 314 deaths as of Saturday in Bangladesh as the whole world is grappling to contain the novel coronavirus.

Prof Mehtab Khanam acknowledged the difficulties of staying at home as she said ‘people love freedom’.

 “All want to enjoy freedom. We miss freedom. We cannot go out now when we want. All feel constraint. Emotionally we feel bogged down,” she said.

 “But people need to take responsibility. Freedom comes with responsibility. You will enjoy freedom by taking the responsibility for your own behavior and what will be the consequences,” she said, suggesting actions that would make people feel responsible.

She stressed on devising awareness messages in the language which is understandable to all.

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