THE government seems to have missed out on a chance by not agreeing to the formation of a national committee that political parties in the opposition camp, majorly the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and partners in the Left Democratic Alliance, proposed to effectively fight against the threat of the novel coronavirus, which has by Friday infected 61 people since March 8, six of whom have so far died. With 26 cases having already been announced closed, there are now 29 active cases and the situation is feared to worsen if the number of tests, which has still been limited to a little short of 200 a day, is increased to get a wider and more accurate picture for a better management of the COVID-19 situation. Efforts to mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak — which the World Health Organisation on March 11 declared as a global pandemic that has by Friday infected 1.3 million people in 204 countries and territories and two international conveyances and left 54,226 people dead — could be better if all political parties would work together. The issue having thus faltered, it is now for history to judge whether the ruling Awami League has dealt with the issue of national committee the right way.
It is expected that the government and the Awami League that presides over the government would effectively deal with the issue of the new coronavirus threat by putting all the required measures in place early and in earnest. But such a situation should in no way prevent the political parties, large and small, in the opposition camp from coming out on their own in the aid of people now going through a shutdown, stretched until April 11 from March 26, aimed at ensuring social distancing that could effectively stave off the spread of the coronavirus infection. The political parties and camps all should stand by especially the poor and low- and middle-income people, having to go in many cases without food and other daily supplies. There are various other problems and issues that are also reported to be straining public life in such a critical time. People now face problems in meeting their daily needs and in having access to proper health care. Most of them are highly likely to face greater problems in the medium and long run even when the crisis will be over, sooner or later. It is, therefore, the duty of political parties that have almost always stood by the people in times of crisis starting from the 1960s in pre-independence days and mostly until the 1990s in post-independence days to come to help people in general.
It is, therefore, time that the political parties, large or small, banded together, irrespective of their debates and differences of opinion, to come to the aid of people now facing an uncertainty mostly in terms of livelihood and health care. The government is expected to do all it can to handle the crisis but political parties and private individuals and entities should also come forward with some humanity for the suffering millions for the sake of humanity.
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