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31 March, 2020 12:56:01 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 31 March, 2020 06:45:31 PM
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Anxiety grips expatriates

Bangladeshis living abroad fear that their food stocks will exhaust soon leaving them into uncertainty
ANISUR RAHMAN KHAN, Dhaka

Bangladeshi expatriates staying in coronavirus-affected countries are passing their days in great anxiety. Some of them in western countries fear that their food stocks will be used up in 15-20 days, while others are worried about being infected by the virus that is spreading rapidly.

This correspondent spoke to some of the expatriates living in different countries on residential visas and for service purposes in the US, Japan, and Middle East countries. In the USA, Bangladeshis are in panic as most of the grocery shops have become empty.

Some Bangladeshi expatriates have been running their grocery business among the Bangla community in the US by importing Bangladeshi products by ships or air. Unfortunately, both the sea and air routes are suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic globally. So, the expatriates are worried as they will not be able to get their food items after 15-20 days if the situation deteriorates.

The US health department has asked people to be careful for the next seven days. It advised people not to leave home for bread, rations, or anything, unless it is for dire necessity, because the worst phase has begun, Ahad Ahmed, a Bangladeshi living in Michigan, told The Independent.

“The incubation period gets over by April 7. It is very important to stay at home till then and not to allow visits from anyone. This is for the good of all,” he said. He also said

Bangladeshis in the US can lead their daily life for at least two months with the cash in hand, but they are likely to face a food crisis in the days to come.

“The Bangladeshi grocery shops will be shut down from April 1 as their stocks have almost ended. There will likely be a food crisis after two weeks in this area, especially in New York, as it would take months to collect food from Bangladesh and India for Bangladeshis there,” he added.

He said there is a shortage of masks and other medical equipment to cope with COVID-19.

The Japanese government has already locked down all parks, theatres, and cineplex until further notice, Sheikh Harun, a Bangladeshi expatriate living in Saitama, near Tokyo, told this correspondent.

“The people are facing a severe crisis of face masks, personal protective gowns, and other medical equipment. The roads are empty as the local municipal authorities have imposed restrictions on movement, asking people to maintain physical distance from each other during shopping and collecting food or other work,” he said in reply to a query.

Normally there is no problem relating to availability of food, he said, adding that people have been asked not to leave their houses except for dire necessity.

“Bangladeshis who have no Akama are facing problems getting treatment as they have no health insurance. The Akama-holders have been enjoying all facilities. The Saudi government has been bearing all costs for people affected by COVID-19,” Ripon Rahman, a Bangladeshi worker in Dammam in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, told The Independent.

He said the Saudi government has imposed curfew in Riyadh, Mecca, and Medina that is effective from 3pm-6am daily to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The markets are open during the daytime. Government’s offices are closed, but private companies have been operating with limited  workers. Gatherings are prohibited by Saudi laws, which are very strict in this regard,” Rahman said in reply to a query.

Despite all facilities, including food, Bangladeshi expatriates and workers in Saudi Arabia have been passing their days in much anxiety over the fear of COVID-19, he said.

The Dammam authorities have imposed curfew from 7pm to 6am daily to protect people from the virus, he added.

MK

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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