Health minister asks media not to dish out scary news

People not visiting new test centres, he says

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:38, Mar 30,2020


Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Monday said that the media should not publish any news that created panic among people.

Joining the online press conference of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, he said, ‘Don’t dish out any information that may create panic among the public.’

‘The WHO has appreciated actions we have taken and so has done the Secretary General of the United Nations,’ he said.

‘We would like to see no-one left out of treatment in our country,’ the minister added.

Zahid Maleque said that the government took all-out preparations for tackling the coronavirus spread.

Testing facilities have been set up in Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar but people are not turning up to the centres for tests, he said.

IEDCR director Meerjady Sabrina Flora at the press conference, however, urged people not to go to the test facilities in person if they developed symptoms of the coronavirus but to call the IEDCR, which would collect samples from them at their home.

‘If you go directly to the test centres, it will create scope for spreading the disease to others,’ she said.

The health minister said, ‘We’ve no lack of treatment facilities, no shortage of kits. We’ve also made adequate arrangements for testing and the supply of personal protective equipment for our healthcare providers is no longer short,’ he went on.

‘I would urge every healthcare worker at this time to work from wherever they are,’ he said.

The minister announced that 17 more labs would be set up to examine people for coronavirus infection.

‘We’ve decided to set up 17 new labs. We’ve increased the scope for tests,’ he said.

According to the Health Services, there are about 72,000 test kits available in the stock.

The IEDCR director affirmed that all suspected patients were being tested.

But she said nothing in reply to the questions about the deaths of a number of people with symptoms of COVID-19 but going untested.

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