Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company has raised the emergency balance of pre-paid household consumers to Tk 2000 from existing Tk 200 during the government-declared holidays, said Ali Mohammad Al Mamun, managing director of the company.
Normally, a Titas Gas pre-paid consumer receives gas of Tk 200 as emergency balance to continue gas flow in his oven in case of running out of current balance.
“But now the pre-paid consumers will get gas of Tk 2000 as emergency balance”, Mamun told UNB.
He said Tk 2000 equivalent gas means a four-month equivalent gas as normally a consumer uses gas of maximum Tk 500 a month.
He noted that after the increase in emergency balance amount, the consumers will not need to recharge their pre-paid cards during the holidays as they will get time to use the emergency balance.
The Titas Gas chief executive said that despite such measures, the vendors and its designated bank—UCB are instructed to cooperate with the consumers to recharge their gas balance.
The names of recharge vendors and bank are available on the official websites (titas gas.org.bd) of the Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd.
Titas Gas officials said this measures have been taken in line with the government’s decision to relax the gas bill payment during government-declared holidays to prevent coronavirus outbreak.
As per the decision, the household consumers will not be charged extra for delayed payment of gas bills until June this year due to coronavirus outbreak.
An official circular issued by the Energy and Mineral Resources Division said a huge number of household consumers have to be present in the banks to pay gas bills which may increase the risks of coronavirus transmission.
Considering this, the government has decided to relax the household consumers’ bill payment timeframe as defined by Gas Distribution Regulations 2014, it said adding that the consumers can now pay their bills of February-May at any convenient time in June 2020 without any extra charge.
Meanwhile, the Power Division has issued a similar circular asking the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) to take steps to relax the deadline for payment of February-April bills.
So, the electricity distribution companies will take measures as per the BERC instruction to relax the time limit for bill payment.
SAARC Secretary General Esala Ruwan Weerakoon on Thursday congratulate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the occasion of the Independence and National Day of the country.
In a letter sent to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina he said, "On this joyous occasion, we wish to express good wishes for enduring peace and prosperity of the people of Bangladesh."
He said that as the founding member of SAARC, Bangladesh has been playing a constructive role in its evolution.
He also mentioned that the three SAARC Summits hosted and several important initiatives spearheaded by the government of Bangladesh have immensely enriched the SAARC process.
The SAARC Secretary General mentioned that SAARC Agriculture Center and the South Asian Regional Standards Organisation (SARSO) hosted by Bangladesh has been instrumental in promoting regional collaboration.
"We are confident of the continued support and cooperation from the government of Bangladesh towards SAARC in the attainment of its Charter objectives."
Five more people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 disease in Bangladesh, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 44, said the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) on Thursday.
However, four more patients have recovered from the disease. With these, a total of 11 people have fully recovered from the virus.
IEDCR Director Prof Meerjady Sabrina Flora revealed the latest coronavirus figures through an online press briefing.
"In the past 24 hours, the IEDCR has tested 126 samples raising the total to 920. Of the 126 tested people, five new patients have been diagnosed with the disease. So, the total number of cases is 44. However, four patients have made the full recovery. Currently, 11 people have recovered from the disease and the death toll remains the same," she said.
Of the five newly-infected ones , one is an imported case, three came in contact with infected patients and information about another is still unavailable.
"We're still processing data to confirm the source of his infection," said Prof Flora.
She mentioned that all the 60 newly-infected people are male. "Two of them aged between 30 to 40, two between 40 to 50 and one is aged above 60."
One of the five new patients also has comorbidities as Prof Flora said.
The IEDCR Director informed that testing procedure to diagnose the disease has started in a few other hospitals across the country.
"Apart from the IEDCR, we've extended the PCR testing method to Dhaka Shishu Hospital, Public Health Institution and Bangladesh Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases (BITID) in Chattogram. Gradually, this facility will be extended to divisional level," she said.
The IEDCR will soon launch district-level hotline numbers to help people contact it easily.
Prof Flora also said samples will be collected from wider range of citizens from now on.
"So far, we've been testing people returning from abroad and their relatives who are showing symptoms. However, we'll be expanding our sample collection and testing areas," she said.
"Within two to one days, local hospitals will start collecting samples and send those to the IEDCR and other local institutions for testing," said Prof Flora.
She urged all who left Dhaka within the past few days to be aware and not to spread the disease.
"Those who've left Dhaka must act like those who've come from abroad and stay indoors to ensure that the virus doesn't spread even if you get infected during the journey," she said.
In the past 24 hours, the IEDCR hotlines have received 3,321 calls.
As the government-declared 10-day general holiday started on Thursday and a large number of people left the capital amid the growing fear of coronavirus, Dhaka city wore a complete deserted look with only police and army personnel patrolling around.
The government on Monday declared general holidays from March 26 to April 4, aiming to prevent the transmission of deadly coronavirus.
Only a few people were seen at kitchen markets, food shops, pharmacies, hospitals as all these emergency services have been kept out of the purview of the general holidays.
Coronavirus scare and the long office closure prompted many city dwellers to leave the capital ahead of suspension of bus, train and launce services suspension.
People are staying homes as members of the Armed Forces started their fieldwork in the capital and elsewhere in the country on Wednesday morning to help the civil administration ensure that people maintain social distancing and coronavirus suspects remain in quarantine to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
Also Read - Coronavirus: Global death toll passes 21,000
Besides, the busiest place of the city Kamalapur Railway Station, Sadarghat Launch Terminal and bus terminals were also seen empty.
However, trucks, covered vans and other vehicles are carrying fuel, emergency services and perishable goods as those were kept out of the purview of the transport lockdown.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday termed the fight against coronavirus a “war” and urged people to stay at their homes to discharge their responsibilities at critical time.
The Prime Minister made the plea while addressing the nation in the evening on the occasion of the Independence and National Day 2020.
The death toll from the coronavirus or COVID-19 has jumped to 21,283 globally as of Thursday.
It has so far infected 471,053 people around the world, according to worldometer.
Bangladesh has so far reported five deaths from the coronavirus.
Besides, 27 patients are currently under treatment in the country while seven others have already made recovery.
A total of 1,297 people who have recently returned from different countries are currently in home-quarantine in the district of Bagerhat.
Of them, 730 were sent to home-quarantine in the last two days, said Pankaj Chandra Roy, superintendent of Bagerhat police.
After placing them under quarantine for 14 days, the local administration hoisted red flag atop their houses so that other people remain alert about them and help ensure maintain the quarantine, he said.
A total of 3,833 people returned home from abroad in the district from March 10 to March 25.
Civil Surgeon of the district Dr KM Humayun Kabir said 10 isolation beds have been prepared at Sadar Hospital while five others at every upazila health complex in the district.
Besides, 200 quarantine beds have been kept ready at Sadar upazila while 100 more at upazila hospitals, he said.
Three people were sent to isolation but they tested coronavirus negative, the civil surgeon said.
Deputy Commissioner Md Mamun-ur-Rashid said they were sending overseas returnee to home-quarantine. “The returnees have been asked to stay home and not to come out in any situation,” he said.
Bangladesh has so far reported five deaths from the coronavirus. Besides, 27 patients are currently under treatment in the country while seven others have already made recovery.
Meanwhile, the global death toll from the coronavirus has leapt to 21,283 globally as of Thursday.
It has so far infected 471,053 people around the world, according to worldometer.
Of them, 335,534 are currently being treated with 14,972 being in serious or critical condition.
So far, 135,501 cases had outcomes and of them, 114,218 (84 percent) recovered and 16 percent died.
COVID-19 is affecting 198 countries and territories around the world and one international conveyance (the Diamond Princess cruise ship harboured in Yokohama, Japan).