Mia Seppo praises government's measures to help vulnerable

UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Mia Seppo has said any approach regarding reopening of economic activities in any country will have to be highly localised taking lessons learned elsewhere in the world to minimise the risk of further spreading of coronavirus and saving lives being lost.

"You see countries are talking different approaches to reopening the economy. I don't think these approaches can be same around the world," she told UNB in an interview.

The UNRC said countries need to be mindful of lessons learned elsewhere noting that it is a question of global learning.

The UN welcomed the immediate actions taken by the government to address the impact on the poor and other vulnerable groups.

Seppo also appreciated the packages that are put in place by the government to maintain the very "impressive growth trajectory" of Bangladesh.

"Around the world, this is the biggest challenge (to keep economy unhurt). This is a shock to global economy. This is a shock to national economy," she said.

Responding to a question on recovery agenda, Seppo said Bangladesh has a very open economy relying on the global supply chain.

"Bangladesh is part of global economy and planning for that is going to be the key," said the UNRC.

She acknowledged that Bangladesh has a very extensive system of social protection which is good but the COVID-19 crisis put new people at risk who might not be part of the existing social protection system. "We need to see who're the vulnerable and who need supports."

Seppo said they hope to be helpful in looking at how the current programmes are targeted making sure that no one is left behind.

She said a large number of people who work in informal sector, including day-labourers, micro and small enterprises also need to be taken care of during this crisis.


The UNRC said they are very much worried about misinformation noting that it puts life at risk.

"It's important to make sure people are aware of how they can protect themselves," Seppo said adding that it needs to be made sure that there is no unnecessary panic.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres earlier said while it is a time for science and solidarity, a "global 'misinfo-demic' is spreading."

He saluted the journalists and others who are fact-checking the mountain of misleading stories and social media posts.

Post-Covid-19 Situation

There are lots of research and analysis about the coronavirus to understand how the world will look like after the coronavirus disappears with no crystal ball in hand.

The global coronavirus crisis will not end any time soon, with many countries still in the early stages of the fight, health experts have warned.

World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has cautioned that the struggle is far from over. Make no mistake: we've a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time," he said.

Responding to a question, UNRC in Bangladesh Mia Seppo said they do not know how the post-COVID-19 scenario will look like.

"But we know we need to come out of it. We need to build societies that are more inclusive, we need to build economies that are more resilient and we need to build the health system that can actually deal with pandemic," Seppo said.

She said the climate change issue needs to be taken care of seriously.

The UNRC said everything points to a post-COVID-19 world which needs to be more inclusive and more climate smart with equality in place in greater way.

Humanitarian Corridor

Seppo said this is the biggest test of this generation and it requires integrated, coordinated and immediate health response.

"We are looking at the poor and vulnerable people around the world," she said describing the impact of coronavirus on economies "unprecedented".

Seppo said this is something that the world has never seen at this scale as people both in high- and low-income countries are struggling with the same situation and competing for the same commodities.

"At this point of time, the key priority is to open up humanitarian corridor, open up supply chain to make sure we can transport goods and personnel," she said mentioning that is the key for saving lives.

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