Bangladesh plans to keep economy running in case of winter coronavirus wave

Top officials of the administration and law enforcement met experts on Tuesday ahead of the possible escalation feared to be exacerbated by winter diseases like cough and cold, which are also common symptoms of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus.

All the relevant ministries have been asked to make separate work plans within 10 days, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said after the meeting.

Asked whether the government will reimpose a nationwide lockdown in case of a second wave, Anwarul said they were yet to think about it.

A number of secretaries, public health experts, Benazir Ahmed, inspector general of police, and Lt Gen Mohammad Mahfuzur Rahman, principal staff officer at the Armed Forces Division, attended the meeting at the Secretariat in Dhaka.

Anwarul said they have delegated responsibilities among themselves in case of a second coronavirus wave.

Health experts will fix the plan for treatment in case the caseload of infection rises.

Bangladesh will also need to take care of treatments for diseases like asthma, pneumonia and influenza, which will be more prevalent during winter, the cabinet secretary said.

The government will also run extensive promotional campaigns to ensure compliance of health safety rules such as wearing masks and physical distancing, he said.

“Our main focus will be on keeping the economy running,” Anwarul added.

He also said the government will take precautionary measures to prevent imported coronavirus cases. 

Lt Gen Mahfuzur said they would expand institutional quarantine facilities if necessary.

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