Hasina expected to outline plans to combat COVID in address to nation

The speech will be televised at 7pm on Friday.

Hasina is serving as prime minister for the third consecutive term after her party won the 11th parliamentary election by a landslide on Dec 30, 2018.

She formed a new government on Jan 7, 2019. No leader in the country’s political history has been at the helm for this long.

Bangladesh navigated a challenging 2021 against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. The delta variant of the coronavirus caused a devastating second wave of COVID infections and deaths in the country.

And, just as the pandemic appeared to finally loosen its grip, a new variant, omicron, emerged towards the end of the year.

Bangladesh has already reported 20 cases of omicron and the high transmissibility of the variant is fuelling fears of another wave.

Hasina is expected to outline the government’s plans to tackle the threat of omicron and maintain economic mobility in the year ahead.

Vaccination will be a key component in the fight against COVID-19 as cases continued to trend upwards in recent weeks.

The government launched its mass immunisation programme in phases in 2021 to provide vaccines to the people at the grassroots level. More than 8.3 million people received the vaccine in two days at a programme marking Hasina’s birthday.

Bangladesh also rolled out booster doses in December and has more than 95 million shots in stock.

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