After first identification of Corona Virus (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China in December 2019, it quickly spread out globally, resulting in a worldwide pandemic. The first three known cases of COVID-19 in Bangladesh were reported on 07 March 2020 by the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).
Responsibilities of Bangladesh Armed Forces Countering COVID-19
Bangladesh Armed Forces has augmented the Government’s effort in combating COVID-19. In this regard, Bangladesh Armed Forces is given with following responsibilities by the Government:
- Deploy “In Aid to Civil Administration” to assist local district administration in their effort to fight COVID -19.
- Assist civil administration to ensure social distancing, home-quarantine and institutional quarantine measures of overseas returnees.
- Assist civil administration to ensure lockdown of any specific area to avoid spread of COVID-19.
- Establish Quarantine Camps (QC) in Dhaka and other cities of the country as necessary.
Activities of Bangladesh Armed Forces
Bangladesh Armed Forces have been engaged right from the beginning in assisting civil administration in ensuring preventive measures against COVID-19. Bangladesh Armed Forces coordinated with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to evacuate first batch of 312 Bangladeshi citizens stranded in Wuhan, China on 02 February 2020 and organized first institutional quarantine in Ashkona Hajj camp. As a gesture of solidarity, Armed Forces personnel have donated their one day salary to the relief fund of Honourable Prime Minister for the poor and needy people. Besides, various activities of three services are appended below:
Activities of Bangladesh Army
Bangladesh Army is performing following activities:
- Everyday almost 600 patrols are conducted in 62 districts with around 7000 (+) troops and 1100 vehicle to ensure social distancing and home-quarantine measures.
- Bangladesh Army Aviation has innovated “Isolation Pod” to carry corona patients and modified two MI 171 helicopters into Air Ambulance for air transportation of Corona Patients.
- Various teams and patrols of Army are conducting disinfecting works of different community facilities, raising mass awareness among people, conducting medical campaign and distributing relief in various districts of the country.
- Established four institutional Quarantine Centres (Askona Hajj Camp, BRAC Learning Centre, Dia Bari RAJUK Project and Bangladesh Public Administration Training Center, Savar) with approximately 3000 bed capacity and ensured quarantine of suspected overseas passengers arriving at Hazrat Shahajalal International Airport. Bangladesh Army will soon administer a 1500 bed isolation centre at Mohakhali DNCC market.
- Also established a Quarantine Center in Gazir Madrasa, Jessor in coordination with Jashore District Administration for the returnees from India through Benapole Land Port.
- As a goodwill gesture dispatched a team of medical personnel and medical aid for the people of Kuwait on 21 April 2020.
- Army has organized ‘Ak Miniter Bazar’ (One minute market) at number of places of the country to allow easy and healthy access to daily commodities for the population.
- Army patrols distributed humanitarian aid to distressed people at various places of the country.
Activities of Bangladesh Navy
Bangladesh Navy is performing following activities:
- Assisting civil administration “In Aid of Civil Power” activities related to COVID-19 in coastal Upazillas of six districts.
- Distributing relief goods, masks, disinfectant and hand sanitizer to the poor people in various parts of the country.
- Sent one Ship to Maldives as goodwill gesture of friendship with 100 metric tons of food and healthcare items for the people of Maldives on 15 April 2020.
- Deployed number of ships to alert fishermen and their families in coastal areas with regard to COVID-19.
- Navy patrols distributed humanitarian aid to distressed people at various coastal areas of the country.
Activities of Bangladesh Air Force
Bangladesh Air Force is performing following activities:
- Transported medical aid from China on 18 April 2020.
- As a goodwill gesture, transported 10 Tons of food items including an Armed Forces Medical Team with necessary healthcare aid for the people of Maldives on 20 April 2020.
- As a goodwill gesture, transported 72 stranded Maldivians from Bangladesh to Maldives on 20 April 2020.
- Transported 10 tons of humanitarian aid for Maldives and brought back 70 Bangladeshi stranded nationals from Maldives to Bangladesh on 17 May 2020. A team of Bangladeshi medical personnel were also deployed at Maldives.
- Converted a helicopter into an air ambulance for transporting COVID-19 patients. They are also planning to incorporate such facilities to other helicopters and aircrafts.
- Providing support to the civil administration in emergency medical evacuation process.
- Carrying out disinfecting works in around Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport area.