BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Friday alleged that the coronavirus has badly spread across the country only because of the “government’s corruption and failure” to take effective preventive measures.
“Coronavirus has taken a serious turn and spread across the country due to the extreme negligence, ignorance of the government as its main goal is to steal public money instead of containing the pandemic,” he said.
He came up with the remark while inaugurating ‘MA Haq Healthcare Programme’ in Sylhet through a virtually event from his Uttara residence.
He said the government claimed that they found Bangladeshis who were sent back home from abord free from coronavirus through screening and tests at the Hajj Camp, but a returnee at that camp told a BBC Bangla reporter that they did not go through any screening.
“How irresponsible the government and officials and employees of this health directorate can be. Even after so many incidents, death of several thousand people and infection of lakhs of people, the onslaught on people’s life and livelihoods, they’re not still exercising their minimum responsibilities,” the BNP leader bemoaned.
Referring to the issue of giving fake certificates of coronavirus test by Regent Hospital, he said the country’s image has got tarnished in the international arena as global media focused on the matter. “We fear no one from Bangladesh now can go abroad anymore. All airlines are shutting flights (from Bangladesh). It’ll also have a major impact on the economy.”
Fakhrul said the government cannot eschew the responsibility for the Regent Hospital scam since its owner has very close relations with “all ministers and top ruling party leaders. It's not only one incident, but there’re many such cases. There’s a man, Mithu, who is said to have controlled the whole health directorate and indulged in plundering.”
Under the circumstances, he said, people should not depend on the government for their safety. “We ourselves have to try our best to survive and stop the spread and infection of the virus.”
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi on Friday alleged that Bangladesh is now at the risk of losing overseas labour market due to the “indifference and negligence” of the government.
"Various countries, including Italy, China, Japan, Vietnam, Turkey, Qatar and the UAE, are imposing various restrictions on the citizens of Bangladesh to enter their countries. The deportation of 152 Bangladeshis from the airport after their arrival in Italy has manifested how indifferent the government is about people’s interests!” he said.
Speaking at a virtual press briefing from BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, he also alleged that the government's focus is only on receiving remittances sent by expatriates, not protecting their interests.
“We’re worried whether our citizens may have to pay a heavy price in the future if Bangladesh loses credibility in the international arena regarding the coronavirus test reports at this time of the Global Village. The awful situation that has created in the country in terms of people’s health safety may put the overseas labour market for our citizens at risk,” Rizvi observed.
Referring to false corona test report scams of JKG Health Care and Regent Hospital, he said the institutions got permission for conducting corona tests as their owners were the ruling party leaders and close to the government.
“After having approval, the corrupt people of these institutions used to issue corona-free certificates to thousands of people in exchange for money without conducting any test. The government has now realised the matter as expatriate Bangladeshis with their certificates have been detained at different countries or forced to return home,” the BNP leader said.
He said the government should have apologised to the nation for the coronavirus scams and the failure of the Health Ministry in containing the outbreak of the virus. “Instated of that, we saw a different tone of the Prime Minister. She said yesterday (Thursday) they are catching thieves, but they are being called thieves. People don’t understand the reason for her such regret.”
Rizvi said why people should not brand the ruling party leaders and their public representatives as thieves since they misappropriated relief materials like rice and oil allocated for the helpless and unemployed people amid the coronavirus pandemic.
He said the relief materials embezzlement and the fake corona test certificates are an outcome of usurping power through ‘vote robbery at midnight’.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has alleged the government is pushing people towards death by not taking any effective step to prevent the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at a virtual discussion arranged by Bangladesh Nationalist Research and Communication, he also alleged that Regent Hospital indulged in misdeeds in the name of coronavirus tests and treatment with government patronage.
"We’ve to now hear death news waking up in the morning and before going to bed at night. People may die in the pandemic, but it shouldn’t happen without any preventive measure. The government is pushing people towards death through its extreme indifference and negligence. It can never be accepted,” he said.
Fakhrul voiced wonder as to how Regent Hospital could give people false certificates without conducting Covid-19 tests. “I saw in a TV report that all our ministers have very close relations with the owner of the hospital and they all have worked and talked to him closely. It means, they (Regent Hospital) did the misdeeds with patronage of the government.”
He said people are going through serious sufferings amid the coronavirus due to the government’s incapability to deal with the situation.
About the move to amend the Political Party Registration Act, the BNP leader said the Election Commission has taken the step to help Awami League hang onto power and pave the way for it to repeatedly returning to power. “The Election Commission is doing everting and making all necessary laws to keep their masters in power.”
He alleged that the military-backed caretaker government formed after the 1/11 political changeover had initiated the move to keep Awami League in power through depoliticisation and the Election Commissions followed it during the national elections in 2008, 2014, and 2018.
Fakhrul urged people to get united to force the government to quit and reconstitute the Election Commission for ensuring fair and credible polls.
Speaking at the programme, Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said over one crore people have become poor while 10-12 families are leaving Dhaka every day due to the adverse impact of the coronavirus. “But the government has no plan to protect these people’”
He said the government has announced different incentive packages in the name of helping people. “But the fact is that the government has no money in the exchequer. The Prime Minister herself has said that the money can be taken from the Foreign Exchange Reserve. Can you imagine the country is facing such a big crisis that the government wants to use money from the foreign exchange reserves?”
Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Thursday said the BNP and its leaders are now in home isolation.
They have no job but appearing on TV to speak against the government, he said.
“Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir himself and the entire BNP under his leadership is now in home isolation. Currently, they have no job except making sudden appearances on television to find the government's fault,” he said.
Dr Mahmud made the remarks at the secretariat while talking about the BNP secretary general’s recent remark where he claimed tackling coronavirus is not a big deal.
The minister said Fakhrul’s speech implies that dealing with coronavirus was not difficult though millions of people had died from the virus in most of the parts of the world.
“Making sudden appearances on television and delivering such words suit those who are not beside people and not doing anything for the people,” he said.
The Information Minister noted that Bangladesh has so far been more successful than many developed countries in tackling coronavirus thanks to coordinated efforts.
That is why the death tally from coronavirus is much lower than that of India, Pakistan and European countries, he mentioned.
Asked about Regent Hospital Chairman Md Shahed, Dr Mahmud said he doesn't know whether Shahed is a member of AL's sub-committee.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) should have been more careful in designating any hospital for Covid-19 treatment, he added.
Jatiya Party Chairman and deputy opposition leader in Parliament GM Quader on Thursday questioned about getting license of a substandard hospital, Regent Hospital, from Health Ministry to provide COVID-19 tests.
"The question is how this kind of organisation, which don't have any facility for coronavirus testing, got license to do the job, what did the Health Department, which is supposed to supervise the overall process, do? ?" he said in Parliament.
He mentioned that on Wednesday the Prime Minister told something regarding the Regent Hospital and all came to know that she has to intervene in the matter and after that steps have been taken.
"A big damage has been done at the national level. People who are going abroad getting coronavirus negative tests are testing positive in foreign lands. Many countries are declining to accept these results from our country," he said.
GM Quader mentioned that many countries are not believing these test results and some countries already banned landing of aircrafts carrying Bangladeshi passengers.
Coronavirus cases were first reported in China. Bangladesh confirmed its first cases on March 8.
"During that time Health Ministry failed to take proper preparations to give medical services. Later, it started callously and till now we can not say that adequate medical facilities have been created," he said.
Jatiya Party chairman said that if the facilities could have been established on emergency basis then the death rate might be much lower.
"It would not be correct to say Health Division did not do anything, but they were inactive while they were supposed to play their due role, their pace of work was slow when they had started their job. From the very beginning mismanagement and lack of coordination was clear in their activities," he added.
He put emphasis on increasing the number of testing labs to figure out the actual situation of the country and reduce the hassle of the common people.
The deputy leader of opposition also mentioned that lockdown would not bring any good result economically in the context of Bangladesh.
He said that through proper medicare facilities the fear regarding this virus can be reduced which is very much essential right now.
He asked the health ministry to increase the number of ICU and ventilators to give support to the COVID-19 infected patients.
Talking about the waterways accidents he proposed to establish a separate special tribunal.
He alleged that the authorities deployed to look after the plying of vehicles on the waterways are not performing their responsibilities properly. "If they do that then accidents would have been reduced significantly," he said.
GM Quader also asked the government to take preventive measurers so that syndicate could not control the price of raw hide during the coming Eid-ul-Azha like the recent years.
Expressing his apprehension regarding flood in the coming days, he said that there should be a coordinated effort to face the challenges due to the flood.