The Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) says they have taken a range of measures following the outbreak of Coronavirus in December 2019.
According to Bangladesh Post, the Ministry has established a ‘Corona Coordination Cell’ headed by an Additional Foreign Secretary immediately after COVID-19 affected Bangladesh and started working closely with the Prime Minister’s Office and other relevant Ministries and agencies.
They facilitated repatriation of foreigners living in Bangladesh and stranded Bangladeshi citizens from abroad.
They also sent aid to different countries and brought technologies and logistics from abroad.
The foreign ministry has so far facilitated repatriation of 4422 foreigners living in Bangladesh including Bhutan, Malaysia, US, Japan, Russia, Germany, Canada, Australia, Maldives, Turkey, UK, and Singapore.
Local missions facilitated arranging chartered flights. In most cases, the passengers are of Bangladeshi origin and paid for their passages.
The foreigners who left mostly worked in various development projects and other professions whose projects are currently suspended.
On the other hand, MOFA has facilitated repatriation of 1799 stranded Bangladeshi citizens from China, India, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Oman and Turkey including pilgrims, students, tourists, patients with their attendants and businessmen.
“MOFA is fully committed to work under the overall guidance of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during the critical moment of the coronavirus outbreak,” it said.
Bangladesh missions abroad are also instructed to look after the expatriate Bangladeshi community living abroad.
Under the guidance of MOFA, Bangladesh missions abroad have established ‘hotline numbers’ and many missions formed ‘Pool of Doctors’ to provide online medical advice to the expatriate Bangladeshis.
MOFA has dispensed funds for Bangladesh missions abroad in coordination with the Ministry of Expatriate’s Welfare and Overseas Employment.
Bangladesh missions distributed food and necessary items among the Bangladesh community living in different countries, particularly in the Middle East with the allocated funds.
MOFA, in cooperation with the Army have sent some gifts to few countries including Bhutan, Maldives, China, and Kuwait, it said.
MOFA established a web page titled “COMBAT CORONA” on its website for providing telemedicine services, awareness raising and disseminating COVID-19 related information which is also connected with hotlines of the Embassies.
MOFA has also created a “WhatsApp Envoys” group through which they disseminate/ communicate information instantly.
In addition, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has sent letters to the Foreign Minister’s or spoken of many relevant countries and few letters have been sent jointly by Foreign Minister and Expatriate’s Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister.
Dr Momen urged the member states of OIC to give utmost importance on the issue of job retention of domestic and resident migrant workers.
He also proposed to establish an OIC Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund.
Dr Momen further requested to engage humanitarian organisations in Member States of OIC to provide sufficient financial assistance, medical support to the Muslim migrant workers from LDCs and developing countries until the impact of the epidemic is over and also to advocate for their job retention to ensure their healthy livelihoods.
As the fatality of the virus spread around the globe, MOFA started working in coordination with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, the Ministry of Expatriate’s Welfare and Overseas Employment, Civil Aviation Authority, Directorate General of Health, Armed Forces Division, and Immigration Department.
Bangladesh missions are sending daily reports to the ministry on COVID-19 from their respective host countries, said a statement.