Bangladeshi students under lockdown in China’s Wuhan city, the epicentre of the Coronavirus outbreak that has claimed 41 lives so far, have appealed for help through social media, saying they want to return to Bangladesh.
Students in Wuhan, including Bangladeshis, have been under lockdown in their respective dorms and residences for the last two days.
The Bangladeshi students were also worried as their food stocks were running low while most superstores in Wuhan remained closed.
Wuhan, a city of 11 million, is in virtual lockdown with all passenger flights cancelled and checkpoints on the main roads blocking the way out of town. A press release from the external publicity wing of the foreign ministry informed that authorities have imposed similar lockdowns in at least 13 cities near in an effort to contain the outbreak, as part of the ongoing containment effort, locking down nearly 56 million people.
There are about 300 to 400 Bangladeshi students in Wuhan, according to the press release.
The Daily Star contacted one of the students stuck in the dorms at Hubei University of Technology, who also appealed for help through a Facebook post. Rakibil Turja, 23, went to Wuhan nearly one-and-a-half years ago and is currently pursuing a degree in Mechanical and Automation Engineering.
While the university is closed during this time of year, Rakibil has been under lockdown in his dorm since January 23. According to him, there are at least 140 other Bangladeshi students in his university alone but no official authorities -- the Bangladesh mission and the university -- have gotten in touch with the students.
The students were frustrated not just by the lack of information but also by the diminishing food stocks.
“There is no one infected in the university yet, which is why they are even more vigilant to ensure no one gets infected,” Rakibil said.
“But our mobility is severely restricted. We have to sign our names in a register, say where we are going and only then are we allowed to go out. And either way, all shopping malls are closed so we really cannot buy any groceries or food,” he added.
The Bangladesh Embassy in Beijing has established contact with the ministry of foreign affairs in China in case emergency support was needed by Bangladeshi expatriates in Wuhan. According to the press release, there has been no news of any foreigner being infected by or dying from the Coronavirus.
Earlier, foreign ministry officials in Dhaka said that no one had reached out to them in this regard.
The Bangladesh Embassy in Beijing has opened a 24-hour hotline number, +86 178-0111-6005, which has been circulated to expatriate students and researchers to call in case of emergencies.