Bangladesh defence secretary dies of COVID-19

He was admitted to the hospital on May 29


Bangladesh defence secretary Abdullah Al Mohsin Chowdhury died on Monday. Chowdhury, who was suffering from COVID-19, was undergoing treatment at the Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka, where he breathed at around 9:30 am.

Chowdhury was admitted to the hospital on May 29 and was tested positive for the virus on June 6.

Md Bhasani Mirza, an administrative officer at the defence ministry said Chowdhury was shifted to the intensive care unit on June 18 after his condition worsened. He died on Monday morning after suffering a cardiac arrest.,

Chowdhury, who became defence secretary in January was promoted to the post of senior secretary of the ministry of defence on June 14.

As of Monday, Bangladesh, one of the worst-hit nations by the coronavirus reported a total of 137,787 positive cases and 1,738 deaths.

President of Bangladesh Abdul Hamid expressed shock over Chowdhury’s death and prayed for the salvation of the departed soul and conveyed sympathy to the bereaved family.

Like any other country, Bangladesh’s economy too, has been suffering. The COVID-19 pandemic is having an acute effect on Bangladeshi migrants abroad, who are largely concentrated in countries with strict lockdown measures.

This has resulted in a major fall in remittances—the World Bank estimates have projected that total remittances by migrant workers from Bangladesh will fall to $14 billion for 2020 – around a 25 per cent decrease from the previous year.

Most of these migrants, who work in the tourism and hotel industry have lost jobs in the wake of the pandemic.

In fact, countries like Bahrain, Kuwait, the Maldives, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have put pressure on Bangladesh to repatriate their migrant workers. While Bangladesh has been avoiding this citing the risk it could pose for public health, once the restrictions are lifted, the return of these unemployed migrants will put pressure on the economy.

According to a report by the International Monetary Fund, the economy of Bangladesh had been growing close to 7 per cent a year on average over the past decade. But now, the IMF projects 2 per cent for 2020—a drop of 6 percentage points from 2019. The main reasons have been a fall in domestic activity, a fall in export of readymade goods and fall in remittances from migrant workers.