Ten prisoners at Chattogram Central Jail have made 4,000 facemasks in the last eight days in an attempt to better protect themselves from the coronavirus.
But the initiative is now on hold because raw materials are in short supply, said jail officials.
The masks have been distributed among jail personnel for free but the inmates -- of which there are 7,000 currently -- have to buy them from the canteen at Tk 15.
"The initiative was taken after getting raw materials from Dhaka paid for from the funding allocated to the canteen," Senior Superintendent of Chattogram Jail Kamal Hossain was quoted as saying.
The chief tailor of the jail Md Shahjahan coordinated the production with the ten inmates who have had previous experience working in the tailor shop, he said.
The inmates were also provided with sewing machines for the purpose.
PRISONERS CAN NOW TALK TO THEIR LOVED ONES
Like some other jails, prisoners at Chattogram Central Jail are now allowed to talk to their family members and relatives through official phones installed by the jail authority.
According to the jail register, 650 inmates talked to their family members yesterday over the phone.
Senior Jail Super Kamal Hossain said "prisoners at the jail are allowed five minutes every week to talk to their dear ones -- parents, wife, children, and siblings -- over phone. For every minute, they are charged one taka."
A senior prison guard accompanies the prisoners during the conversations, he said.
The service is available from 9:00am to 12:00pm and again from 1:00pm to 3:00pm every day.
Face to face meetings with family members are now limited due to fears of coronavirus.
"Apart from that, we now enforce a one-metre distance between visitors and prisoners in the visitors' room to maintain social distance," added the official.
Jail source said the protective measures have been taken for inmates so that they can maintain hygiene inside their cell and outside it.
Before entering cells, every inmate has to wash their hands and feet. Apart from that, the guards have been asked to wash their shoes with bleach-mixed water before entering every ward.