Roadmap to battle corona second wave

Tougher health safety regulations to be imposed

The government has decided to impose tougher health safety regulations in order to confront the second wave of coronavirus attack apprehended in the winter.

As a first line of defence the government has decided to increase the number of corona lab tests to more than 13,000 by collecting oral and nasal cavity specimen samples every day.

In addition, the authorities concerned would also enforce use of masks as mandatory for all in public places, promote hand washing and maintaining social distancing.

This action plan has been recommended by a team of eight-member public health experts and officials of the Directorate of Health. The experts also recommend strict punishment or fines to any who defies or fails to follow the health regulations.

Another the meeting chaired by Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Saturday night also discussed about the recommendations made by the health experts. The government would make public announcement soon based on the health safety guidelines and regulations put forward by the expert team.

Talking about the anticipated second wave of coronavirus infections in Bangladesh, the Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque said people around the world are ignoring the corona issue. As a result, the second wave has started in many countries including America and Europe.

“We are also apprehending the second wave of corona infection in the next winter. The government, however, is getting prepared with the best available options on public health safety rules,” said the minister.

He said that the health sector has already gained substantial experience in dealing with corona infection. “If the second wave starts, we are ready to deal with it.”

Health experts and officials concerned said the number of corona patients, on daily basis, in the country has dropped due to the reduction in the number of specimen tests. 

In the circumstances, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday expressed her fear of rising trends in the infection rates in the winter. The same day, the National Technical Advisory Committee steadily recommended preparing a roadmap on how to prevent further spread of the virus.

Prof ABM Khurshid Alam, Director General of the Department of Health, in this regard said that work has already started to implement the action plan on health safety guidelines. Several committees have also been formed to work on the issues.

The ministry sources said in view of performing 13,000 specimen tests every day, all the 103 approved public and private labs will be used. Rapid Antigen Testing has also been approved recently by the government and a process of bringing 10 lakh antigen test kits is underway. 

Efforts are on to bring vaccines from Russia, China and India. The Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative or GAVI has already considered Bangladesh on the list of its priority countries.