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.
Save the Children has urgently called for international assistance to help Bangladesh meet a surge in demand for ventilators to cope with the COVID-19 outbreak and avert a humanitarian disaster in the country.
Most of the country’s intensive care beds and ventilators are in the major urban centers, including capital Dhaka, making it difficult for remote communities to access, it said.
There are reportedly 1,769 ventilators in Bangladesh at this moment or in the pipeline, which means an average of one ventilator for every 93,273 people, said the Save the Children in a media release.
The organisation expressed concern for the estimated 3.3 million people who live in Cox’s Bazar district, one million of whom are Rohingyas living in cramped conditions with limited access to adequate hygiene and health facilities.
The scarcity of ventilators in the district means lives will be lost when COVID-19 starts to spread more widely in the community.
Save the Children called for a single global plan to help confront one of the biggest threats to global health and security in modern times.
This plan must be underpinned by debt relief, increased financing for public health, safety nets for the most vulnerable, and effective coordination.
“At present, it is difficult for Bangladesh to meet the expected surge in demand for ventilators to help respond to the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Dr Shamim Jahan, Deputy Country Director for Save the Children in Bangladesh. “We are in this together - no single country can confront COVID-19 alone, even the richest and most powerful among us.”
“It is therefore essential that world leaders – in particular the G20 countries – commit to a coordinated global plan underpinned by debt relief. We also urge the Bangladesh government to engage the public and private sectors urgently to secure ventilators for COVID-19 patients,” Dr. Jahan added.
“Without access to intensive care facilities in Cox’s Bazar, patients in critical condition may have to be transported to neighboring Chittagong district more than 90 miles away, further increasing the risk to them and others,” said Athena Rayburn, Save the Children’s Rohingya Response Advocacy Manager.
“Ventilators and people trained to operate them are urgently needed to protect the host communities and Rohingya refugees to avert a humanitarian disaster. Children are at serious risk of not only contracting the virus, but also of being orphaned or neglected if family members become infected or die,” Rayburn added.
Save the Children is ramping up its existing programs in Bangladesh.
In the Rohingya camps, host communities and other districts in Bangladesh, the organization is delivering critical supplies to health workers, restoring hygiene facilities, providing cash support to low -income households and providing families with information on how to protect themselves from the virus.
Six countries, including Bangladesh, has urged global brand companies, retailers and traders to carefully consider all potential impacts on workers and small businesses in the supply chain while taking significant purchasing decisions.
Nine textile and garment business associations of STAR Network (Sustainable Textile of Asian Region) from six producing and export countries also called on their global partners to honour the terms of purchasing contracts, fulfill obligations therein, and not re-negotiate price or payment terms.
This joint statement was made by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC), Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA), Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA), Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA), Towel Manufacturers Association of Pakistan (TMA) and Vietnam Textile and Garment Association (VITAS).
They called for taking delivery or shipment, and proceeding with payment as agreed upon for goods already produced and currently in production with materials ready, and not canceling orders that are already in production.
The joint statement on responsible purchasing practices amid the COVID-19 crisis said during this unprecedented time, responsible business has become more important than ever for the whole world to survive and recover from the crisis.
Especially, responsible purchasing practices of brand companies, retailers and traders of the global textile and apparel supply chains will bring enormous impacts on the fundamental rights of millions of workers and the livelihood of their families in the supplier end, the statement reads.
The organisations said it is time for global businesses to uphold and honour their commitment to labour rights, social responsibility and sustainable supply chains.
They called on for offering fair compensation to suppliers if production or delivery has to be suspended or stopped, or offer salaries directly to workers of suppliers.
They called for putting no responsibility on suppliers for delay of delivery or shipment and claiming no compensation for such delays and no further improper pressure on suppliers by additional costs, rushing orders or unnecessary visits and audits.
The organisations sought all efforts and engage with local stakeholders for a better understanding of the local situation and contexts.
They underscored the need for dialogue and collaborative settlement to ensure mutually acceptable solutions to disputes.
The organisations sought support for business partners on supply chain as much as possible, and aim at long-term strategy of business continuity, supply chain unity and social sustainability.
"We appreciate the understanding, collaboration and support of our business partners and other stakeholders, and we are ready to work and walk with all responsible buyers globally to get through this crisis, towards a shared bright future," said the joint statement.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has sought support from Bangladeshi expatriates living in different countries alongside the government initiative to bring back the remaining five fugitive convicted killers of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and execute the verdict.
"Still five killers remain fugitive. One of them is in the United States while another one in Canada," he said in a reaction over the arrest of Abdul Majed, a convicted killer of Bangabandhu.
Dr Momen hoped that it will be possible to bring back the rest of the killers to execute the verdict during the "Mujib Borsho."
For this, he said, cooperation from Bangladeshi expatriates is needed apart from the government initiative.
Dr Momen said the arrest of killer Majed came as good news amid the crisis following the coronavirus outbreak.
He said the government had an expectation to bring back at least one fugitive killer during the ‘Mujib Borsho’.
Abdul Majed was arrested from Dhaka early Tuesday.
He was produced before the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate AM Zulfiqar Hayat who sent him to jail.
On August 15, 1975, during the assassination of Bangabandhu, 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.
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.