Coronavirus hotspot Narayanganj reopens 191 factories raising escalation risks in Bangladesh

Narayanganj, one of the worst-hit coronavirus hotspots in Bangladesh, has resumed operations at 191 factories amid the nationwide shutdown designed to curb the spread of COVID-19 outbreak.

Published : 26 April 2020, 09:51 PM
Updated : 26 April 2020, 09:51 PM

The authorities said the operations resumed Sunday on a limited scale complying with the instructions and health guidelines announced by the government to protect workers from the virus.

“The factories, including 81 garments, have resumed operations with a limited number of workers,” said Bashir Ahmed, inspector of Narayanganj Industrial Police-4. 

“Operations at 16 factories have resumed in the port city’s Adamjee Export Processing Zone. Between 50 and 100 workers have joined each factory.”

Besides garments, steel re-rolling mills, accessories, packaging and chemical factories also reopened.

Nirob Hossain, a worker of Hong Kong-based garment manufacturing unit Epic, said the workers were undergoing temperature check at the entrance. Disinfectants were also sprayed and they were maintaining a proper distance from each other.

More than 8,000 workers are employed in the factory and over 600 of them rejoined work on Sunday, Nirob said.

“We have resumed operations in the factory with a limited number of workers following all directives. The workers who live in the neighbourhood areas have been told to rejoin,” an official of another factory said.

“We have goods stored for shipment. We need to deliver them,” he said, requesting anonymity. “The authorities planned to increase the number of workers in several phases.”

“We don’t know what will happen then as the environment in which the workers live is not healthy at all.”

Narayanganj was the first district to be on complete lockdown on Apr 8, a month after the first coronavirus case of the country was reported there.

It recorded a cluster of dozens of coronavirus cases later and spread the disease to many other districts, becoming the epicentre of the outbreak.

It has reported 41 deaths from the virus so far, with 625 confirmed cases.

Most of the fatalities were recorded from Nayanyanganj Sadar and city corporation areas, close to the garment factories reopened on Sunday.

Several garment workers who returned home from the district tested positive later for COVID-19.