Business leaders have agreed with experts about enforcing a 14-day “complete” shutdown. But they believe the export-oriented industries should be allowed to operate on a limited scale amid surging coronavirus infections
Faruque Hassan, president of garment exporters’ group BGMEA, said it was time a shutdown is announced in greater public interest, but many businesses contacted him fearing a disruption in production after the government disclosed its plan to enforce stricter restrictions.
“I’ve told the factory owners we must agree to it for the greater good. A shutdown is necessary even if it hampers production a bit,” he said on Friday.
The government enforced a nationwide lockdown in early April after the second wave of COVID-19 began in Bangladesh. Factories, however, remained open.
Faruque said the lockdown restrictions, especially on transports, are still hampering production. “But the work has not stopped.”
Most restrictions were lifted when the situation improved slightly, but another surge in COVID-19 cases prompted the authorities to put curbs in parts of the country.
Now the government is considering another 14-day shutdown following expert advice as coronavirus cases and deaths have continued to rise rapidly.
On Friday, Bangladesh logged 108 new COVID-19 deaths in the daily count, highest since Apr 29, taking the total count to 13,976, as cases surged by 5,869 to 878,804 in the same period.
The BGMEA president argued that closing the factories completely may help the coronavirus spread further because it will not be possible to stop the workers from travelling home in rural districts.
“The virus will spread in countryside. It (closing factories) will do more harm than good,” he said.
“So, our advice to the government is to keep the garment factories open even if public transport system is shut down. We will try to continue production with the workers who live near the factories.”