Political leaders at a discussion on Monday demanded the government announce coronavirus pandemic as a national disaster and take steps for tackling it with coordinated efforts.
Left Democratic Alliance (LDA) arranged the all-party consultation meeting at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU).
Leaders of major political parties, except the ruling Awami League, joined the meeting through videoconferencing.
Gonoforum president Dr Kamal Hossain, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, CPB president Mujahidul Islam Selim, JSD president ASM Abdur Rob, Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna, BSD leader Khalekuzzaman, Biplobi Workers' Party leader Saiful Haque and Kalyan Party chief Syed Muhamamd Ibrahim, among others, addressed the programme.
In his opening speech, LDA coordinator Bazlur Rashid Firoz said the government should announce coronavirus a national disaster. “From the very beginning, we’ve been talking about taking an initiative for overcoming the disaster with the united efforts of all parties, professionals, experts, students and other social forces. We’ve arranged this programme as part of such an effort to forge a national unity to overcome the natural disaster.
Speaking at the programme, Dr Kamal Hossain said coronavirus prevalence is a national crisis and it should be tackled with united efforts. “It’s not possible to deal with the problem with unilateral efforts. The entire nation will have to be involved in it through forging a unity.”
He said everybody should now come forward coming out of narrow political interests and work together to stand by the affected and vulnerable people. “This can be done with the efforts of all.”
Dr Kamal said no single party and organisation will be able to protect the nation from the fury of coronavirus and overcome its fallout.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said their party is of the coronavirus outbreak and they are working to prevent it. “We’re trying to highlight the loopholes and problems, but the government is not giving importance to it.”
He said the relief materials the government is now providing is very inadequate as millions of people have now become jobless.
The BNP leader said many people are not getting the relief and passing through a serious ordeal while the government has politicised the relief distribution work. “It won’t be possible for us to tackle the coronavirus if we can’t raise above narrow politics.”
He said their party is ready to join any effort to face the national disaster. “The government must take steps for forging a national unity at this critical time of the nation shunning obstinacy, vanity and political vengeance.”
Fakhrul said Bangladesh can effectively handle the coronavirus situation if various effective plans are worked out based on unity and implanted with united efforts.
JSD president Abdur Rob suggested forging a national disaster management committee to handle the coronavirus situation. “The government should announce coronavirus as a national disaster and unite the entire nation to overcome the situation.”
Mujhidul Islam Selim said, “I urge the government to take coordinated initiatives to face the corona crisis. We must get united to get rid of the coronavirus crisis as we did it 1971 to remove the Pakistani virus.”