Hasina orders help for the working class amid coronavirus shutdown

  • Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-03-30 01:35:31 BdST


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ordered officials to make lists of people from the working class who live hand to mouth and provide them with grains and other daily necessities as a nationwide shutdown due to a coronavirus outbreak has left them with no means of living.

She gave the instructions in a video call from the Ganabhaban in Dhaka while receiving 20,000 personal protective equipment or PPE for medical workers and funds to tackle the outbreak from different government and private organisations on Sunday.

“They are truly in a perilous state as the situation has been continuing for a long time. We’ve already sent grains to the district administrations across the country through the disaster management and relief ministry. Now these will be distributed gradually,” she said.

“I am ordering continuation of the programmes like VGF (Vulnerable Group Feeding), VGD (Vulnerable Group Development), or others through which we provide financial help. People are enlisted on the programmes. But those outside the programmes who live hand to mouth don’t have any job now as all the people are staying at home.

“They don’t have the ability to buy and stockpile food for so many days. We must think about this group of people. We must make lists of them and provide them with grains and whatever things they need,” the prime minister said.

Hasina regretted that she could not attend the programme in person. Her Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus received the aid on her behalf at the Prime Minister’s Office.

“It can’t be that I will tell al to stay at home but I myself will roam around. I had always received such help in person. But I am sorry I can’t do this now,” she said.

She said the government has announced general holidays but it does not mean no one will work.

“People can work from home while maintaining social distancing. And those who have gone to their village homes can spend the time farming,” she said.

The prime minister pointed out that factories can remain open only if the workers’ protection from the virus can be ensured.

She asked the health workers to treat COVID-19 patients properly. She also emphasised the health workers’ protection from the virus.

“Please don’t be afraid. We must be prepared to tackle the situation. The Bengali nation has never tasted defeat. We must be confident that we will not do so. We must keep ourselves and others protected,” she said.