Govt wants to protect over 16 cr people by not allowing ‘imported’ virus: FM
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday said the government wants to protect over 16 crore people of the country by not allowing anybody with “imported” coronavirus in the country.
He said the government appealed to the expatriate Bangladeshis living in various countries not to come to Bangladesh until the situation improves which remains unheeded.
Dr Momen said those coming from infected countries will have to go for home quarantined for 14 days.
The Foreign Minister made the remarks while talking to reporters after an event in the city.
Of the five coronavirus-infected persons in Bangladesh, he said, three came from Italy and one from Germany.
Another one got infected for staying with one of the four infected returnees, he said.
The Foreign Minister expressed displeasure over the reaction came from returnees from Italy on Saturday mentioning that they did not like food and accommodation arranged by the government.
He also said the government is discouraging travellers from European countries except the United Kingdom, and people from infected countries like China, Iran, South Korea, Spain and other countries.
Those who did not visit any infected countries in the last 28 days can come to Bangladesh from the UK, he said.
Bangladesh has suspended on arrival visas for all countries and stopped taking travellers from Europe, except England, until March 31 to keep Bangladesh safe.
These decisions will come into effect from Sunday midnight (12:01), said the Foreign Minister.
“We must protect our people in the country,” Dr Momen said adding that they will observe the overall situation in the next two weeks.
The Foreign Minister said all the decisions have been taken in the interest of the people of the country.
The government even cut short the mega event on March 17 marking the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Responding to a question on shutting down educational institutions, Dr Momen said old people like him are at risk but not the young people.
He said 80 percent of the people who died of coronavirus in Italy, now the epicentre of the virus, are above 80.
Dr Momen said there is a reason to remain careful for people like him who are above 70 years.
The Foreign Minister feared panic among people if educational institutions — schools and colleges — are closed suddenly.
He said the required decision will be taken in due time.
Earlier, the Foreign Minister spoke as the chief guest at a daylong seminar on ‘Bangabandhu’s The Unfinished Memoirs: A Review’ organised by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) at its auditorium.
BIISS Chairman Ambassador M Fazlul Karim chaired the seminar while BIISS Director General Major General Md Emdad Ul Bari delivered the welcome remarks.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), made one of the presentations on “Bangabandhu: An Epic of a Nation’s Struggle for Self-determination.”