Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati today demanded the immediate shutdown of garments factories for a temporary period to protect their workers from the coronavirus outbreak.
Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati's President Taslima Akhter, General Secretary Julhas Nayeen Babu and Organising Secretary Aminul Islam Shama made the demand in a joint statement.
They also urged authorities concerned to ensure continuation of their workers' facilities, including their salaries.
In the statement, Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati leaders said 20 people have been infected with coronavirus, one has died of this disease and another infected person is now under intensive care unit.
All educational institutions have been closed, instruction has been given to vacate university halls, and meetings and public gatherings, including sporting events, have been restricted due to the spread of coronavirus.
Communications of different districts, including Madaripur, have been suspended and an uneasy quiet prevails in the capital due to the spread of the virus, but neither the owners nor the government have made any declaration to ensure the safety of 40 lakh workers of garments industries, which is the country's top source of foreign currency, the statement said.
There is no facility for safe hand washing, sewage system, use of mask and sanitiser and drinking water at most garment factories, the statement said, adding that the workers are touching surfaces with unclean hands and working amid the panic of an impending epidemic, which is a dangerous situation.