While the world is stressing over to find how the coronavirus emerged, the deadly disease named Covid-19 has been spreading its wings to over 200 countries, claiming as many as 197,297 lives and infecting 2,831,454 people worldwide till now.
Instead of the government, the virus seems to be in the driving seat insetting what the nature of governance willbe in the era of a pandemic.
It will be a disaster if Bangladesh, an overwhelmingly densely populated nation, fails to take prompt actions in this regard.
The failures of the administration in the early days is a thing of the past, but now the time is running out and we should explore ways to mitigate further irreplaceable damages.
Firstly, activating the local government bodies equipped with local administration is crucial for a proactive engagement.
It will be a good decision to declare the local open spaces and educational institutions as quarantine zones, especially for the expatriates, and makeshift settlement should be set up by the local authority. Law and order agencies, including the army and BGB, must be made auxiliary forces to facilitate the initiative.
Secondly, the health ministry must patronise the local researchers and medical scientists with prompt support to discover drugs and remedies, consistent with the local natural resources, for coronavirus.
Thirdly, a ceiling to limit customers, dealers, and wholesale shopkeepers from hoarding is urgent to contain social disorder.
Maintaining the food supply chain and delivering it to the doorsteps of the consumer will be a challenging job.
Along with the support of the local government, the upazila administrationshould coordinate the OMS service among the poor, so that they getfood supplies at a subsidised rate in the villages.
Fourthly, keeping morale, health and patience of the peoplewill be adifficult job amid the pandemic. In addition, the ongoing awareness raising campaigns should be intensified.
The media should telecast suggestions from psychologists and doctors regarding how to contain the panic. Authorities must take appropriate measures to stop the spread of rumours and false information.
The elected representatives, including the MPs, must be present in their constituency amid the pandemic and mustshow high morale.
Fifthly, concerning all the odds, the morale of farmers must be maintained through special packages including subsidy, providing seeds and direct buying programme by the government.
In addition, encouraging people to practice vegetable farming in their rooftop or yardsis a good advice advise in this exceptional time, if the period lasts long.
Sixthly, the digital infrastructure should be maintained properly. The government can encourage telecom operators and broadband service providers to ensure internet at lower costs.
Seventhly, decisions in all respects should be made incrementally -including the announcement of general leave for all sectors –as the country is reeling from the consequences of the general leave taken without planning.
Finally, accommodating the community leaders, including religious leaders, local influential persons, will play positive role in many respects.
Understanding religious explanations in line with its ramifications bears significance in the socio-economic context of Bangladesh for taking the right policy decision.
The roles of Islamic scholars needto be addressed with due importance to mitigate the damages of the pandemic.
Therefore, indigenous knowledge useful for cleanliness, keeping the people healthy as well as improving immune system, might get attention.
Above all, good governance has many impactson the citizens' life and it generates public trust on administration.
This is an opportunity for the administration to ensure good governance, which will certainly buildcourage, trust and values in everyone amid the pandemic.
This is a global crisis. It is not the time for garnering personal profit, passing off responsibilities or blaming the administration.
Now is the right time to offer utmost support to the administration, show solid professionalism, high moral, unity and courage and present high standards of morality and humanity.
The author is Lecturer, Department of Public Administration and Governance Studies, Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, Trishal, Mymensingh.