PM alerts nation against reappearance of coronavirus wraths

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Dhaka, Jan 07: Prime minister Sheikh Hasina Friday asked for people’s extra caution against quick-spreading new coronavirus variants, warning that the crisis was yet to be over, and urged all eligible people to be vaccinated in quickest possible time.

“The crisis is yet to end,” she told a nationwide televised address coinciding with the completion of the third year of third consecutive term of her government.

Sheikh Hasina called for stricter maintenance and enforcement of health guidelines as a new surge of corinavirus was quickly grasping the globe again, even after exposing Bangladesh and most other countries to a “deep crisis” in 2020 and 2021.

“I urge the people who are yet to get the jabs to take the vaccine immediately (while) health protocols must be followed (as well),” she said.

The premier said the inoculation campaign was underway in full swing while her government took steps to expedite the drive setting a target afresh to vaccinate 10 million people every month from January.

Sheikh Hasina said nearly half of the country’s population so far received the first Covid-19 vaccine dose and nearly 54 million people got the second one while the authorities started administering the third or booster dose last month.

“We have 95 million doses in our stock” right now, the prime minister said.

While talking over economy, the prime minister said the pandemic affected Bangladesh economy as it had its onslaughts on other countries with many nations facing disasters but her government managed to recover the losses with “your (people’s) help”.

She said her government was trying to keep moving the wheels of the country’s economy by giving necessary policy supports and various progressive financial stimulus packages since the onset of the crisis.

She said the government so far announced 28 stimulus packages worth over Tk over 18 million and 56.76 per cent of the amount was disbursed by October last year, befitting over 67 million individuals and 118,000 organizations.

She said Bangladesh secured the number one position in terms of GDP in South Asia with 5.43 per cent growth during the last fiscal, also heightening the per capita income to US Dollar 2,554 in 2021.

The prime minister said different global watchdogs praised Bangladesh’s economic performance with World Economic Forum predicting the country to be 24th largest economy by 2030 while the Economist placed it in ninth position in a list of 66 successful emerging economies.

“The 2021 was a year of unprecedented recognition of our development. We achieved final recognition of becoming a developing nation last year. The achievement is a matter of joy and pride for the Bengali nation as it coincided with celebrations of the Mujib Year and golden jubilee of the country’s independence,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the country was currently leading South Asia in various socio-economic indexes as the outcome of her government’s policy initiatives with a holistic approach, primarily whipping out poverty, developing health system and empowering women.

She said the policy initiatives simultaneously resulted in reduction in mother and children mortality rate, increase of average life expectancy.

“Bangladesh has progressed a lot in the last 13 years. . . It has been possible as the people have kept confidence in us,” she said in an apparent reference to her government’s successive elections to power.

The prime minister said her government was working with a target to turn Bangladesh into a welfare-oriented, developed and prosperous country by 2041 and “We hope you (people) will stand beside us as you did in the past to this endeavour”.

She said all her government’s endeavour to build a prosperous future for the new generation while the country also largely relied on the “unending vigour” of younger generation in building a progressive Bangladesh confronting all the odds.

“I firmly believe our generation after generation will march ahead with keeping their heads high,” Sheikh Hasina said.