The Saif Powertec Limited distributed relief materials among day labourers working in the Chattogram port terminals.
Relief items were distributed among temporary workers at the Numuring Container Terminal (NCT) and Chottogram Container Terminal (CCT).
Chattogram Port Authority member (administration and planning) Md Zafar Alam distributed the relief items while Chief Operating Officer of Saif Powertec Limited Captain Tanvir Hossain, Lieutenant Commander (Ret) Tafsir and others were present there.
Captain Tanvir Hossain said they distributed the relief items among more than 2,000 temporary workers.
“We took special initiatives for our NCT and CCT staffs. They’ll be carried from different points of the city to facilitate transportation. One bus is carrying our workers from Kathgarh, one at Bahaddarhat and the other from the Ologker area,” he said.
He said operations are going on at the port thanks to their special initiatives.
“We took various initiatives to protect our workers from coronavirus. The workers are using sanitiser and masks to protect themselves. Special doctors have been appointed for them as well. We also formed a special monitoring team to observe the workers,” he also said.
The independent human rights expert who monitors Myanmar has condemned the crackdown on the rights to freedom of expression and access to information that is related to ongoing armed conflict and risks undermining efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
“I echo the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire at this critical time and ask all parties to all conflicts in Myanmar to have an immediate and total ceasefire to facilitate the fight against COVID-19,” said Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar on Thursday.
Myanmar declared on March 23 that the Arakan Army, which is fighting the military in Rakhine and Chin States, is a terrorist organisation.
When news outlets Naranjara, Myanmar Now and Khit Thit later published interviews with an Arakan Army spokesperson, editors Khaing Myat Kyaw, Thar Lun Zaung Het and Nay Myo Lin were charged under the Counter-Terrorism Law 2014. Nay Myo Lin was arrested, while Khaing Myat Kyaw and Thar Lun Zaung Het are in hiding.
“I condemn the terrorism charges that have been laid against Khaing Myat Kyaw, Thar Lun Zaung Het and Nay Myo Lin for doing their job as journalists,” the expert said. “These journalists were reporting on the escalating armed conflict in Rakhine State, where the government has imposed a mobile internet shutdown. As such, their reporting was of the highest public interest value and should be protected.”
The Ministry of Transport and Communications has also recently directed all internet service providers in Myanmar to block 221 websites, including news agencies based in ethnic minority States.
This is in addition to the mobile internet shutdown imposed in nine townships in Rakhine and Chin States since last year, according to a media release issued from Geneva.
“Censorship of the media at this time is deplorable. The right to access information is vital during the COVID-19 emergency in Myanmar, including in ethnic minority States. Furthermore, the right to seek, receive and impart information concerning health issues is a component of the right to health,” Lee said.
“I call on the government to ensure that all people in Myanmar can exercise their rights to freedom of expression and access to information. The charges against the journalists must be dropped, the censorship order withdrawn, and the mobile internet in Rakhine and Chin States should be reinstated in all areas.”
The UN expert also expressed concern about repeated government statements that people who spread “fake news” would be prosecuted, including under a proposed amended Prevention and Control of Communicable Diseases Law.
“Unlike other countries who are releasing prisoners to protect prison populations from the virus, Myanmar continues to arrest people for non-violent offences in relation to conduct that is within their rights. State authorities must not misuse the crisis situation to crack down on human rights defenders, journalists, health workers and others who provide information that is perceived to be critical or is exposing human rights violations, including those that may occur during the COVID-19 emergency response.”
Lee added that it is also critical that people throughout the country have access to assistance, which is now impeded by restrictions on humanitarian access in conflict-affected areas, including to camps for internally displaced persons, where hundreds of thousands of ethnic minority people live in cramped conditions, and are vulnerable to the virus.
“The government must lift the humanitarian restrictions to ensure that what assistance is available can reach all who need it, without discrimination,” the Special Rapporteur concluded.
A Bangladeshi expatriate died from coronavirus at a hospital in New York on Thursday.
He was identified as Mofizul Haque, 67, former headmaster of a primary school in Sherpur.
Khandakar Rauf Ujjal, president of Sherpur Zila Somitee in US, said Mofiz breathed his last around 3:20am (local time) while undergoing treatment at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Eleven people suffering from fever, cough, and breathing complications died in Bogura, Pabna, Rajshahi, Narsingdi, Sherpur, Joypurhat, Cumilla, Brahmanbaria, and Kurigram on Thursday.
In Pabna, a 50-year-old woman died with fever, breathing complication and throat ache in Santhia upazila in the afternoon.
Santhia Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) SM Jamal Ahmed said the woman had been suffering from breathing complication for the last few days.
He said the residence of the deceased was put under lockdown.
Upazila Health and Family Planning Officer Dr Fatema Tuz Jannat said they collected sample from the woman and sent for testing.
In Bogura, three people, who had been suffering from fever and respiratory problems, died at Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital.
The deceased were identified as Sabana Khatun, 30, of Gabtali upazila; Moksed Ali, 45, of Dupchanchia upazila; and Arzina Begum, 30, of Natore’s Singra upazila.
Abdul Wadud, assistant director of SZRMCH, said they were making arrangements to shift them to isolation units. But they died at different times of the day.
Civil Surgeon Dr Gausul Azam Chowdhury said they have collected samples and sent them to Rajshahi for test.
The upazila administrations were asked to put the corresponding areas under lockdown, he said.
In Rajshahi, a farmer died with fever, breathing complications and diarrhoea at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital.
The deceased, aged about 58, is a resident of Sonapur village in Manda upazila of Naogaon.
Saiful Ferdous, deputy director of RMCH, said the man was hospitalised with flu-like symptoms on Wednesday but was shifted to the isolation unit later as his condition deteriorated.
They collected samples from his body and sent it for coronavirus test, he added.
In Narsingdi, a readymade garment worker who returned home with fever, cough and breathing trouble from Narayanganj died in Sadar upazila.
Sultana Begum, 30, was the wife of Amanullah of Alokbali Purbopara village.
Locals said she returned home on Wednesday from Narayanganj with fever and cold. She died while being taken to a hospital by boat in the morning.
Additional Deputy Commissioner Imrul Kayes said they have put the woman’s house under lockdown while samples were collected for test.
In Sherpur, 16 houses were put under lockdown at Satpakia Moddhyopara village in Sadar upazila after a man suffering from fever and cough died.
The 42-year-old sold pigeon in the area.
Quoting family members, UNO Md Firoze Al Mamun said the man had been suffering from fever for the last two to three days and his condition deteriorated on Wednesday night.
Health officials collected samples from his body, he added.
In Joypurhat, 10 houses were put under lockdown after the death of a youth showing ‘flu-like symptoms’ in Khetlal upazila.
Civil Surgeon Dr Selim Mia said the youth, who worked at a food factory in Bogura, had been suffering from fever and cold for the last eight days.
The factory owner sent him home on Wednesday night and the youth died around noon while being taken to a hospital, he said.
Samples taken from his body were sent for test.
In Brahmanbaria, a 50-year-old woman, who had been suffering from fever and cold, died at Ranikhar village in Akhaura upazila.
UNO Tahmina Akter Raina said the woman recently returned from Narayanganj and had been suffering from fever, cold and cough for the last seven to eight days.
She died at her home in the early hours of Thursday, the UNO said, adding that those who came in contact with her would be quarantined.
Civil Surgeon Dr Mohammad Ekramullah said her samples would be sent to Dhaka for test.
In Kurigram, a deputy assistant engineer of Kurigram office of the Education Engineering Department (EED), died while suffering from fever, cold and respiratory problems.
He had been undergoing treatment at Rangpur Medical College Hospital (RMCH) and died while being taken to Dhaka around 9:30pm, said Shahjahan Ali, executive engineer, Kurigram EED.
Dr Mainuddin, medical consultant of Kurigram General Hospital, said the man complained of respiratory problems on Tuesday and was taken to RMCH on Wednesday. He was there at the isolation unit.
In Cumilla, a HSC examinee died from fever and cold at Nabinagar Upazila Health Complex in Brahmanbaria.
The deceased, Mohammad Raihan, 20, son of Mokhlesur Rahman of Balighar village in Muradnagar upazila of Cumilla, had been suffering from fever, cold and breathing problems for the last few days.
Moshrat Farkhanda Jebin, resident medical officer of Nabinagar Upazila Health Complex, said the boy came to the hospital in the morning with respiratory problems and physicians referred him to Dhaka but he died there around 3pm.
Samples were collected from his body and sent to Dhaka for test, said UNO Mohammad Masum.
Abhishek Das, UNO of Muradnagar, said the village was put under lockdown.
Bangladesh on Thursday reported 112 new coronavirus cases and one death. The country has so far recorded 330 cases and 21 deaths.
The Biramkandi village under Titas upazila was put under lockdown after one of its residents tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday.
Upazila Nirbahi Officer Rasheda Akter confirmed the development, saying the man had returned home from Dhaka four days ago.
Civil Surgeon Dr Niyatuzzaman said the 48-year-old man is a day-labourer at a warehouse in Dhaka. He recently returned home with fever and nose sore.
“On information, samples taken from him were sent to Dhaka for test and they turned out to be positive on Thursday,” he said.
He will be treated at his residence, the civil surgeon said.
Bangladesh has so far confirmed 330 coronavirus cases and 21 deaths. Of these, 112 cases and a death were reported on Thursday.