B'desh to stop daily coronavirus briefing as minister sees ‘improvement’
Published : Tuesday, 11 August, 2020 at 1:07 PM Count : 301
The Directorate General of Health Services is discontinuing its daily online briefing on the COVID-19 situation soon, months after it stopped taking questions from the media.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque told bdnews24.com about the decision on Monday when the number of coronavirus cases in Bangladesh in the daily count remained around 3,000 with 30 deaths.
The caseload has crossed 260,000 while the death toll has surged past 3,400 since the first cases were detected in the country in March.
The health minister said he did not consider the daily briefing necessary anymore since the situation has “improved”.
“We believe the infection rate is decreasing and the situation is getting under control,” he said.
The government will issue press releases instead of the briefing and the new system will be launched within a couple of days, according to the minister.
Bangladesh launched the daily briefing on Feb 8 when the pandemic began in China and spread to Europe. Initially, reporters were allowed to question the officials at the briefing.
Meerjady Sabrina Flora, the director of the government’s disease control agency IEDCR, became a household name at the time as she appeared in the briefing even after it went online.
The then director general of health services, Abul Kalam Azad, also appeared some times while Zahid joined from home.
But the directorate on Apr 8 launched the new system stopping journalists from asking questions with the directorate’s Additional Director General Nasima Sultana announcing the number of cases, death toll and other figures.