The local multinational electronics brand Walton has donated Tk 3 crore to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for fighting against pandemic coronavirus.
Walton’s Deputy Managing Director Nazrul Islam Sarker handed over the donation cheque worth of Tk 3 crore to the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus at PM’s office in the capital on Sunday, said a press release.
Walton’s Deputy Executive Director Sharif Harunur Rashid was also present.
Attending the ceremony through video conferencing from ‘Gonobhavan’, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed satisfaction on the Walton’s protective measures, the press release said.
During the function, Walton officials informed the PM that the company has been conducting a number of protective measures against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission.
In addition, Walton has been distributing 65,000 PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) among the health workers of different hospitals.
Among the PPEs, there are initially 5,000 units are cover off protective suits, disposable medical masks, safety goggles and head caps; 5,000 pairs of disposable gloves as well as shoe covers; and hand sanitizers.
Meanwhile, Walton authorities handed over the PPEs to Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare Ministry Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim at his Banani residence in the capital on Monday.
Former Health Minister AFM Ruhal Haque, Secreatry General of Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad Prof Dr Mohammad Abdul Aziz, Directorate General of Health Services’ Monitoring and Evaluation Expert Dr Ahmadul Hasan Khan, among others were present.
Walton’s Deputy Executive Director Firoj Alam said, they have already distributed 15,000 units of PPEs, medical mask, hand glove and shoe cover. More 50,000 units are under process to deliver.
Earlier, Walton donated Tk 10 lakh to Bidyanondo Foundation.
Walton is producing hand sanitizer in line with the prescribed formula of World Health Organization (WHO) and then distributing those all over the country at free of cost.
The local brand is also going to manufacture ventilators, along with various sorts of safety equipment at their own factory and it will be supplied soon, said the Walton officials.
Walton has been conducting awareness and sanitization campaigns at around 20,000 points at a time across the country, they added.
Haris Salkic, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering, had never pondered that his startup company HAS Robotics would use a 3D printer to produce surgical visors -- until the COVID-19 pandemic hit his native Bosnia and Herzegovina's (BiH).
The visors -- produced at a pace of 15 to 20 pieces a day -- are not for sale but for donation to medical professionals in Salkic's home town Brcko, some 200 km north from the capital city Sarajevo.
Health care officials in Brcko said that the donation is much appreciated, as coronavirus pandemic had caused a shortage of medical protective gear in Brcko and BiH in general.
The soaring demand for medical protective equipment across the globe made the purchase of these goods difficult and time-consuming. Officials in Brcko said Wednesday that more than a week ago, they made a bulk purchase of protective medical gear, which are yet to arrive from China via the airport in Belgrade, the capital of neighboring Serbia.
The surgical visor made by Salkic's startup is basically a transparent plastic sheet that protects the face of a medical worker from splashes of body fluid while tending to virus-infected patients.
The transparent sheet is attached to an around-the-head band with adjustable snap-fastener, just like the one on the backside of baseball hats.
"It is important to say that this model is certified by Czech health authorities," Salkic said, explaining that the blueprints used in 3D production are shared by the Czech company Prusa Research for free, non-commercial use.
"Another good thing is that this [the visor] is not for single use. It can be disinfected and reused many times," Salkic told Xinhua.
Salkic, now studying mechanical engineering at the International University of Sarajevo (IUS), had been riveted by mechanics in his early childhood while hanging around with his father in a garage workshop.
"My father had a small construction machine. I remember we always worked on it and repaired it. I loved it and he would always take me with him," said Salkic.
His high-school project -- 3D printing of a robotic arm -- was designed as a tool for practical education in robotics, mechanics, electronics and programming. The invention won him the first prize at last year's Sarajevo Business Forum Start-Up Challenge.
Salkic said he used the prize of 33,000 convertible mark (18,300 U.S. dollars) to register his company HAS Robotics and to produce and sell robotic arms.
The influx of first orders, however, coincided with coronavirus outbreak, which stalled the schooling and slowed down the economy.
Data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control showed that the BiH reported 257 confirmed cases with five deaths as of Sunday.
Teaming with his cousin Mirza Karahasanovic, a physical therapist, Salkic decided to convert the production from robotic arms to full-face medical protective visors--by a 3D printer.
Salkic called on all owners of 3D printers to join them to meet the high demands from medical institutions in BiH.
"Visors are very much needed, especially in these crucial times when we don't know how many cases we'll have tomorrow," Nihad Sibonjic, the director of a hospital in Brcko, told Xinhua.
"We are thankful for the donation," Sibonjic said. "We also hope our efforts to prevent the spread of virus will be successful, and we won't have to use the protective gear that much."
Mobile operators sought assistance from the government, especially from the law enforcement agencies, to continue providing uninterrupted services to the people during the holidays or shutdown because of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
Telecom has been declared as an emergency service following the government's instructions.
Mobile network operators (MNO) have been providing uninterrupted services across the country, said a press release.
According to notices circulated by the Cabinet Division and the Ministry of Public Administration on March 20, providers of emergency utility services such as electricity, water, gas, fire service, cleaning operations, telephone and internet will continue providing services and keep their offices open during the holidays and shutdown.
However, in some places, officials and or representatives of the mobile network operators faced challenges from the law enforcement agencies during their official works including network management, recharge and distribution and customer service.
The Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) has requested law enforcement agencies to communicate with their field officials so that mobile operators can provide their countrywide uninterrupted services and keep their offices open without any disruption, added the release.
Leading institutional or eligible investors said they offered fair prices for Walton shares during IPO bidding after the detailed evaluation of the company’s financial report, consistent and sustainable profit growth, business development and future growth prospect.
During Walton’s IPO bidding, one of the leading institutional investors LankaBangla Asset Management Company Limited bid Tk 449 for each share. LankaBangla's Chief Investment Officer MA Faisal Mahmud said, “We thoroughly analysed Walton's prospectus and financial reports and saw that Walton was growing up historically among other domestic companies. As the company is producing various products indigenously, they are in good shape considering it.”
“Walton’s continuity of growth, business development and future prospects has seemed good to us," he said. “In addition, the company has a relatively low volume of free-float shares. As a result, it is expected that the company will have share demand. Considering these factors, LankaBangla made a bid of Tk449 per share, which I think was reasonable price.”
IDLC Investment and Finance, another top leading investment companies, made the bid of TK411. Managing Director of the company Md Moniruzzaman said, “In terms of bidding, we've seen how powerful Walton's business model is. In particular, it has been considered whether Walton will be able to sustain business with other companies and what their net and gross profit margin will be in the long run.”
He said Walton is a very good business model in the country. Everyone is watching it and there is lots of evidence. In the local market, the demand for the products of the company is increasing. Market participants think that the lack of a fund-based company will be met if domestic electronics giant Walton is listed in the capital market. This will bring back momentum and increase depth in the capital market.
On January 15 last year, Walton performed a road show to collect Tk100 crore from the stock market in book building system. Then in January this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Bangladesh approved the IPO bidding for the company.
The cut-off price of shares of Walton Hi-Tech Industries Limited was then set at Tk315 each after bidding by eligible institutional investors.
The ministry of Health and Family Welfare will receive the video conference systems and AI solution from Huawei Technologies (Bangladesh) Limited, to help the fight against COVID-19.
This aid will support the ministry in providing multi-collaboration, remote communication and efficient screening.
The video conference system can be applied in several situations, such as epidemic prevention and control command, remote consultation, remote monitoring and effective collaboration. And the solution of AI-assisted screening and quantitative analysis system will help the hospitals improve diagnosis efficiency.
Zhang Zhengjun, the CEO of Huawei Technologies (Bangladesh) Ltd, handed over the system and solution to the Health Minister Zahid Maleque at a programme organised by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) in the capital on Wednesday afternoon. Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Health Secretary Ali Noor, Enterprise VP of Huawei Technologies (Bangladesh) Ltd Peter, along with other high officials were present there. State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak joined the event through video conference.
Minister Maleque thanked Huawei for strengthening Bangladesh in dealing with COVID-19. "Their advanced and intelligent solutions has helped China to ensure efficiency in managing this difficult situation. We can also utilise these resources," he said.
Foreign Minister Momen said, “The long relationship between China and Bangladesh is a unique example of friendship. In continuation with that, it is great to know how an international company like Huawei stands with us to face the current world-facing threat COVID-19. ”
Huawei (Bangladesh) CEO Zhengjun said, “Huawei Bangladesh is willing to support Bangladesh in fighting against COVID-19, and Huawei Bangladesh has taken strict preventive measures to protect all of the staff also. In fighting the COVID-19 epidemic, Huawei will always be here and overcome these difficulties together.”