Health Minister Zahid Maleque yesterday urged private medical college hospitals to prepare for providing a hand to the government designated Covid-19 hospitals in tackling the "second wave" of the pandemic.
The minister asked the private hospitals to double their Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity.
"The government hospitals have already started making preparations, you should too… Private hospitals have around 1,200 Covid-19 dedicated beds -- around 10 percent of its normal capacity… Make it 20 percent; increase ICU [capacity]," Zahid said.
He was speaking as the chief guest at an event, titled "Tackling the Second Wave of Corona and Vaccine", in Dhaka.
"The first reason behind the rise of the coronavirus infection is that we are not maintaining health safety rules. We are moving around desperately; we are not wearing masks -- we have become overconfident," he said.
The transmission is increasing also due to social gatherings during winter, he added.
"Different types of diseases spread during winter. Covid-19 transmission may rise due to these diseases. Besides, different events take place in winter… Hundreds of thousands of people are traveling to Cox's Bazar. Transmission is increasing from there."
About the Covid-19 vaccine deployment in Bangladesh, he said, "We will get the vaccine for the first phase once the World Health Organization approves it. If vaccines are given at the government hospitals, they will also be arranged for private medical college hospitals."
Speaking at the event, Prof ABM Khurshid Alam urged private hospital authorities to reduce the Covid-19 testing fees in the meantime.
Md Ali Noor, secretary of medical education, MA Matin Khan, president of Bangladesh Private Medical College Association, and Dr Anwar Hossain, general secretary of BPMCA, spoke at the event among others.