Government employees who have recovered from Covid-19 will not get compensation for the moment. For now, the government will pay compensation only to the family members of those frontline officials who have died from the novel coronavirus.
The decision was made at a meeting held at the Prime Minister's Office recently, against the backdrop of the issuing of fake Covid-19 certificates by different institutions including Regent Hospital and JKG Health Care.
The government is also planning on not paying compensation to employees who have recovered from Covid-19 after getting infected following the reopening of government offices in June at the end of the general holidays.
The Ministry of Finance thinks many government employees might have availed fake certificates from various institutions such as Regent Hospital and JKG Health Care to get compensation from the government.
Besides, many Bangladeshi citizens who had been given Covid-19 negative certificates in Bangladesh later tested positive for the coronavirus after going to Japan, South Korea, and Italy.
Under the circumstances, the government has backtracked on its decision to compensate officials who have recovered from Covid-19.
Md Habibur Rahman, additional secretary of the Finance Division, confirmed the news to The Business Standard.
He, however, said, "As far as I am concerned, the government has not made any decision that it will not, at all, pay compensation to officials who have recovered from Covid-19., a decision will be made later in this regard, after careful scrutiny of their applications."
According to officials of the finance and health ministries, at a point of time when some government employees, including health workers and law enforcement officials, were showing reluctance to perform their duty for fear of getting infected with Covid-19, the government decided to distribute cash compensation to them if they contract Covid-19 or died from it while performing duty amid the pandemic.
The government announced that it will pay employees between Tk5 lakh and Tk10 lakh, depending on their pay scale, as compensation if they contract Covid-19, and between Tk25 lakh and Tk50 lakh if they died after getting infected while performing duty amid the pandemic in a bid to motivate them to perform their duty.
Tk850 crore has been allocated in the budget for FY2020-21 for this purpose, they added.
According to a circular issued regarding the compensation, health professionals including physicians and nurses, officials under field administration, law enforcers, armed forces personnel, and other staffers working directly amid the pandemic will be able to get the financial facilities as compensation.
The government in the circular set forth a term saying that any employee seeking compensation will have to attach a Covid-19 positive certificate with their application.
So far, 17 applications have been filed in this regard, however, none of them have been given compensation as yet.
An official of the finance ministry said all offices of the government have reopened after the general holiday.
It has become difficult to differentiate the front-liners from other officials, except in the case of doctors and other healthcare professionals, they said, adding that differentiating frontline fighters from field-level officials and members of law enforcement agencies has become impossible.
In this situation, the government has decided not to pay compensation to employees who have recovered from Covid-19 after getting infected since the beginning of June, he said.
However, those who have recovered after contracting the coronavirus while performing duty during the general holidays will get compensated, following strict scrutiny of their information. The finance ministry will issue a circular in this regard very soon.
A joint secretary of the finance ministry said the issuing of fake Covid-19 certificates was beyond the imagination of everyone, which is why the ministry asked applicants to attach only a coronavirus positive certificate as proof.
Now they will be asked to submit Covid-19 negative certificates of two successive tests as proof of their recovery from the viral disease, he said, adding that only those who will be able to provide certificates as per the requirement will be eligible for the compensation.
According to data provided by the health directorate, some 2,391 people have died from Covid-19 in the country so far, while the number of total infections stands at 1,86,894. However, there is no specific information on the number of government employees among these people.
Meanwhile, statistics of the Bangladesh Medical Association shows 63 doctors have died either from Covid-19 or with Covid-like symptoms so far in the country. In total, 2,696 doctors and other healthcare professionals have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Also, 12,582 members of the police have tested positive for Covid-19 so far. Among them, 45 have died. Around 1,000 officials have been infected in other law enforcement agencies including Ansar, Fire Service, and the prison department.
The number of coronavirus infected officials in the public administration currently stands at 250. Among them, 11 have died.
Meanwhile, 4,675 incumbent and retired officials of the armed forces were infected with Covid-19 till Sunday. Among them, 78 have died.