Health minister asks officials not to talk to media

Staff correspondent | Published: 15:17, Apr 23,2020 | Updated: 10:01, Apr 24,2020


Health minister Zahid Maleque on Thursday directed officials not to talk to media saying that it goes against the government’s policy.

Speaking at the daily online bulletin on COVID-19 situation, the minister said that different media reported ‘untrue’ news that separate hospital was being prepared for VIP COVID-19 patients.

‘Giving any statement to media creates misunderstanding and it is against the government’s policy,’ he said.

The minister said that no separate hospital was being prepared for treating VIP COVID-19 patients.

‘The government prepares no such facilities. Similar arrangements are for all,’ he said.

He came up with the remarks after several media reported that Sheikh Russel National Gastroliver Institute and Hospital was being prepared for the VIP COVID-19 patients with specialised treatment facilities.

The hospital director Faruq Ahmed confirmed the news to New Age and top health ministry officials argued for the separate treatment arrangement for the VIPs on BBC Bangla.

Bangladesh registered 4,186 patients with 127 deaths as of Thursday and media and social media are abound with stories of people being denied treatment at hospitals after they got infected.

Zahid Maleque said that no hospital in the country was put under lockdown. ‘No such thing will happen… All the services will go on as usual,’ he said.

He said that doctors, nurses and medical technologists were contracting COVID-19 while treating infected patients. ‘Many healthcare providers have been sent to quarantine,’ he said.

The minister said that 2,000 more doctors and 6,000 more nurses would be recruited soon.

‘We hope this additional manpower will work to strengthen health services,’ he said.

Zahid said that the treatment for COVID-19 patients was going on free of cost and necessary medicines were in the stocks of the government.

He said that the COVID-19 situation in the country was better comparatively.

He said that by 45 days since first infection with coronavirus, different countries had much more infected patients and deaths than Bangladesh.

He said that the infections were 1.3 lakh in Italy with 11,000 deaths in 45-day period while the infections were 1 lakh in Spain with 10,000 deaths, 1.2 lakh infections in the USA with 24,000 deaths.

‘Comparing these statistics, our situation is much better,’ he said.

Zahid said that over 300 Bangladeshi expatriates died of COVID-19 in different countries.

He said that 4,500 Bangladeshis were infected with COVID-19 in Singapore.

He said that Bangladeshis coming from Singapore and India must have to stay in institutional quarantine.

The minister said that fake masks and personal protective equipment were being sold and bought in recent days and the government has decided to take action against the suppliers.

Directorate General of Drug Administration has been instructed to take action against the selling and buying of the fake masks and PPE, he said.

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