Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Wednesday sought increased support from China as the number of coronavirus cases is rising in Bangladesh.
He specially mentioned about personal protective equipment and ventilators, saying Bangladesh would be needing more support.
"I hope that the Chinese government will come forward to extend that help," he said while speaking in a videoconference between health professionals from Bangladesh and China.
He also appreciated China's support to Bangladesh to fight against COVID-19 and hoped that the relations between the two countries will be strengthened.
Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming laid emphasis on collective efforts saying this virus respects no borders. "We all must work together."
He said a medical team will soon be arriving in Bangladesh to help deal with the current situation.
Ambassador Jiming said he has every confidence that Bangladesh will win in this battle against coronavirus.
"Let me reaffirm that China will continue to stay with Bangladesh in fighting against the COVID-19 and more, and we have every confidence in Bangladesh for winning the battle," he said.
The COVID-19 outbreak is raging across the world to over 170 countries and regions, infecting more than 1 million patients globally.
Ambassador Jiming said though the Bangladeshi government has undertaken a series of resolute, strong and effective measures to curb the disease, the risk of a potential outbreak is still there.
And whenever there’s a public health crisis like this, the medical staff are always the ones at the front line running the biggest risk of infection, he said.
"So it is crucial to get the doctors and nurses informed of the key aspects in the prevention and control of the virus, and prepared for what to look out for in the clinical practice in order to protect not only their own safety but also the whole health system," said the Chinese Ambassador.
Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasised at the recent G20 Leaders’ Summit, the pandemic is a common enemy of all, and it is imperative for the international community to strengthen confidence, act with unity and work together in a collective response so that humanity as one could win the battle against such a major infectious disease.
"This conference is also part of the collective response in fighting against the COVD-19 and an attempt to advance the building of a regional community of common health," said the Ambassador.
Dr Zhang Wenhong, Professor and Head of the Center for Infectious Disease, Huashan Hospital of Fudan University in Shanghai, shared his experience about the coronavirus pandemic.
The participants from six different locations exchanged their ideas and laid emphasis on international cooperation.
Dr Zhang shared his experience and laid emphasis on testing of each suspected case, keeping people at home and quarantine are effectively implemented.
As the Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine of Fudan University in Shanghai, Dr Zhang is the leader of Shanghai’s Anti-COVID-19 clinical expert team.
He has extensive experience with the diagnosis and treatment of various emerging infectious diseases, according to Chinese Embassy in Dhaka.
Dr Zhang is a graduate of Shanghai Medical University and has held visiting scholar and postdoctoral fellow positions at the Department of Microbiology at the University of Hong Kong, Harvard Medical School and Illinois State University at Chicago.
He has gained tens of millions of followers on social media and been dubbed “Dad Zhang” for his outspoken, down-to-earth talk about the disease.
The 51-year-old first started getting attention at the end of January when he told media he assigned doctors who were Communist Party members to work at a hospital on the front line of the coronavirus outbreak in Shanghai.
Bangladesh and China have discussed the possibility of importing ventilation machines from China during this critical moment of coronavirus outbreak in Bangladesh.
The two sides also discussed the issue of China’s expert medical teams comprising doctors, nurses and technicians to deal with coronavirus, treat coronavirus-infected people and also provide training to Bangladeshi medical professionals.
Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke to Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen over telephone on Tuesday evening and discussed the issues.
During the telephonic conversation, Dr Momen told his Chinese counterpart about the possibility of bringing an expert team of technicians from China to support ‘Sheikh Russel Gastro-liver Institute and Hospital’ which has been declared as a dedicated facility in Dhaka for coronavirus treatment.
The Bangladesh Foreign Minister requested the Chinese Foreign Minister to consider deferral of payments against all Back to Back Letter of Credit (LC) opened in favour of Chinese suppliers for one year.
The Chinese Foreign Minister responded positively and assured him of their full support to Bangladesh, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The two sides also exchanged views on the issue of the Rakhine State. Bangladesh hopes that the return of forcibly displaced persons will start as soon as possible.
China said it is ready to continue to play a mediating role, according to Chinese Embassy in Dhaka.
While recalling the cordial meeting between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and President Xi, Dr Momen requested his Chinese counterpart to help ensure early repatriation of Rohingya to Myanmar as promised.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi felt the urge of early repatriation and assured of extending Chinese support to that end.
The two foreign ministers also reiterated their support for each other in the international arena.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed gratitude and thanks to the Bangladesh government for its valued contribution of masks, hand sanitisers, hand gloves etc during the critical moments of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan city and other parts of China.
Dr Momen expressed gratitude and thanks to the government of China for their contribution of coronavirus-testing kits, personal protection equipment (PPE) and infrared thermometer.
He also mentioned the contribution of ‘Jack Ma Foundation’ and ‘Alibaba Foundation’.
Dr Momen extended his sincere appreciation to the government of China for taking utmost care of Bangladeshi students in Wuhan and other parts of China in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Yi said that as close neighbours and friends, China and Bangladesh have always enjoyed each other's understanding and support, according to Chinese Embassy in Dhaka.
When the Chinese people were at a critical moment in the battle against the COVID-19 outbreak, the government of Bangladesh expressed solidarity and provided support to China.
Now the virus has broken out in various parts of the world, and the number of confirmed cases in Bangladesh is rising.
The Chinese side has been following closely the outbreak in South Asia.
China suggests that the government of Bangladesh step up prevention and control in advance in order to be able to mount an effective response should the virus spread.
The Chinese Foreign Minister said that China, guided by the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, has provided timely outbreak response supplies to assist Bangladesh and mobilised Chinese companies to offer support.
"As the situation continues to evolve in Bangladesh, we are ready to provide more assistance, share our information and experience without any reservation, and send a medical experts team to help with Bangladesh's response efforts," he said.
Yi underscored that as a responsible major country, China will stand firmly with Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries to battle the virus together, counter its impact on the global economy, maintain normal international industrial cooperation the best way we can, and safeguard the safety and well-being of people in our regions and the wider world.
He expressed confidence that under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the government and people of Bangladesh will defeat the virus and the friendship between China and Bangladesh will be further cemented in the course of the joint fight against COVID-19.
He expressed hope that the Bangladeshi government will continue to do what is necessary to look after the Chinese nationals there and protect their safety and health.
He expressed Bangladesh's solidarity with the China government for observing April 4 as the national mourning day in China.
Foreign Minister Dr Momen was pleased to receive a call from the Chinese Foreign Minister and spoke for 45 minutes.
Chinese Foreign Minister reassured Dr Momen and promised to work together to overcome newer challenges.
The two foreign ministers ended their conversation expressing good wishes for both the countries.
Three more people died from coronavirus in Bangladesh in the last 24 hours, raising the death toll to 20, according to the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).
Besides, 54 people tested positive for COVID-19 during the period, raising the number of such cases in the country to 218, said IEDCR director Prof Meerjady Sabrina Flora in its daily bulletin on Wednesday.
"In the last 24 hours, 54 people were diagnosed with the disease. The total number of infected people in the country is now 218. Three more people died from the infection in the past 24 hours. The total death toll is now 20," she said.
No new patient made recovery keeping the total number of recovered patients at 33.
Among the newly-infected people, 33 are male and 21 are female. "Thirty-nine of the 54 are from Dhaka, one from the area adjacent to Dhaka and the rest are from outside Dhaka," she added.
"The age range of the newly-identified people are as follows --- five people aged from 11 to 20 years, 15 aged from 21 to 30 years, 10 aged from 31 to 40 years, seven aged from 41 to 50 years, seven people aged from 51 to 60, and 10 people over the age of 60," said Prof Flora.
In the past 24 hours, 988 samples were collected from across the country and 981 tested.
Across the country, 737 more people were sent to home quarantine in the past 24 hours and 16 to isolation. 139 are currently in institutional quarantine.
So far, 10157 people are currently in home and institutional quarantine across the country.
Directorate General of Health Services Additional Director General Dr Samia Tahmina said the country has 220518 PPEs in stock.
Earlier, she said no new recovery does not necessarily mean that the patients are in bad condition.
"We didn’t find anyone negative in PCR test in the past two days but they’re in good condition," she added.
A court here on Wednesday issued the death warrant for Captain (retd) Abdul Majed, one of the convicted killers of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Judge of Dhaka’s District and Session’s Court M Helal Chowdhury issued the warrant after he was produced before his court from the jail.
The court also showed him arrested in the Bangabandhu murder case.
Majed was arrested from the city’s Mirpur area early Tuesday. A team of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit arrested him around 3:30am.
He was produced before the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate AM Zulfiqar Hayat which sent him to jail on the day.
On August 15, 1975, Bangladesh’s founding father Bangabandhu and most of his family members were assassinated by a cabal of military men.
Eighteen members of his family, including Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, three sons – Captain Sheikh Kamal, Lieutenant Sheikh Jamal and 10-year-old Sheikh Russel, two daughters-in-law Sultana Kamal and Rosy Jamal, brother Sheikh Naser, peasant leader Abdur Rab Serniabat, youth leader Sheikh Fazlul Haq Moni and his wife Arzu Moni, Baby Serniabat, Sukanta Babu, Arif and Abdul Nayeem Khan Rintu, were, among others, were also killed on that fateful night.
Military Secretary Brigadier General Jamil was also killed. Several members of a family in the capital’s Mohammadpur area were killed by artillery shells fired by the killers on the same day.
During the assassination of Bangabandhu on August 15, 1975, Majed, Noor and Risaldar Moslehuddin along with others were present there when he was a lieutenant.
On November 19, 2009, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty of 12 convicted former army officials for the assassination of Bangabandhu and his family members.
Five killers of Bangabandhu – Syed Farooq Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Bazlul Huda, AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed and Mohiuddin Ahmed – were hanged in January 2010.
Another killer Aziz Pasha met natural death in Zimbabwe in 2001.
The fugitive killers are former Lt Col Khandaker Abdur Rashid, SHBM Noor Chowdhury, Shariful Haque Dalim, Rashed Chowdhury, and Risaldar Moslehuddin.
Of them, the government knew the whereabouts of Noor Chowdhury, Rashed Chowdhury and Moslehuddin while it was not sure about the other three fugitives -- Rashid, Dalim and Majed.
According to government sources, Noor Chowdhury has been living in Canada and Rashed Chowdhury in the USA.
The port city of Narayanganj was virtually deserted as the local administration put the entire district under ‘lockdown’ from Wednesday morning in an effort to curb coronavirus.
The decision to lock down the district was taken on Tuesday as the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) has identified it as the hotspot of coronavirus transmission.
A few shops at kitchen markets in the city were seen open while others remained shut since Tuesday night, said Additional Superintendent of Narayanganj Police Mostafizur Rahman. “Everything remains shut as per the government order and we’re on a hard line over the issue,” he said.
However, emergency services like medical care and supply chain remained out of the purview of the restrictions.
Wishing anonymity, an official of a law enforcement agency said some areas in Sadar and Siddhirganj upazilas, including Fatullah, were found to be most vulnerable spots for coronavirus transmission.
On Tuesday night, an ISPR release said the entire district of Narayanganj would be put under complete lockdown from Wednesday and it would remain in force until further notice.
Civil administration, Armed Forces and other law enforcement agencies in coordination with local representatives would jointly work to this end, said the release.
Bangladesh on Tuesday reported 41 more coronavirus cases, including 15 from Narayanganj.