Bangladesh High Commission in London has decided to postpone the Bangladesh Independence and National Day Reception 2020 scheduled in the evening of March 30 at the Methodist Church Central Hall.
The decision was taken in view of the rapid escalation of the highly contagious and infectious COVID -19 virus in London and the surrounding cities, and the acute risks that it poses to the health, wellbeing and safety of all our invited valued guests, said the High Commission on Saturday.
The High Commission deeply regretted any inconvenience caused by this decision taken in view of this unwarranted situation and in the interest of public health safety.
Once this pandemic situation gets back to normal and large public gatherings are no longer a health and safety threat, Bangladesh High Commission will make a fresh announcement in this regard, said a media release.
Bangladesh High Commission in London requested all Bangladeshi-British to practice maximum caution to protect themselves against COVID-19 infections and wishes the very best of health, wellbeing and long life for Bangladeshi community members in the UK.
Saarc countries will come together on Sunday through a videoconference to chalk out a strong strategy for combating coronavirus in the region.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will lead Bangladesh while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi his country at the videoconference of all Saarc member countries to chalk out a strong common strategy to fight COVID-19 in the region.
"Coming together for common good!," Spokesperson at Indian Military of External Affairs Raveesh Kumar tweeted on Saturday confirming the joint videoconference.
The death toll from coronavirus or COVID-19 that already hit 149 countries reached 5,436 globally as of Saturday. Besides, 145,810 new cases were reported from around the world, according to worldometer.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen will brief media on coronavirus at 9.30pm today (Saturday) at State Guest House Padma.
UN Secretary General António Guterres has urged the global community to work together to slow the spread of coronavirus or COVID-19 and look after each other.
"This is a time for prudence, not panic. Science, not stigma. Facts, not fear," he said in a video message recorded on Friday afternoon.
Even though the situation has been classified as a pandemic, the UN chief said, it is one they can control.
"We can slow down transmissions, prevent infections and save lives. But that will take unprecedented personal, national and international action," he said.
Guterres said many are anxious, worried and confused. "That’s absolutely natural."
He said they are facing a health threat unlike any other in their lifetimes.
The UN chief said the virus is spreading, the danger is growing, and our health systems, economies and day-to-day lives are being severely tested.
"The most vulnerable are the most affected — particularly our elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions, those without access to reliable healthcare, and those in poverty or living on the edge," he said.
Guterres said the social and economic fallout from the combination of the pandemic and slowing economies will affect most of them for some months.
"COVID-19 is our common enemy. We must declare war on this virus. That means countries have a responsibility to gear up, step up and scale up," he said.
"All of us have a responsibility, too – to follow medical advice and take simple, practical steps recommended by health authorities," he said.
The UN chief said the financial markets have been hard hit by the uncertainty and global supply chains have been disrupted. "Investment and consumer demand have plunged – with a real and rising risk of a global recession."
UN economists estimate that the virus could cost the global economy at least $1 trillion this year – and perhaps far more.
"No country can do it alone. More than ever, governments must cooperate to revitalise economies, expand public investment, boost trade, and ensure targeted support for the people and communities most affected by the disease or more vulnerable to the negative economic impacts," said the UN chief.
The UN said a pandemic drives home the essential interconnectedness of human family and preventing the further spread of COVID-19 is a shared responsibility for all.
The United Nations is fully mobilised, said the UN chief.
"We’re working 24/7 with governments, providing international guidance, helping the world take on this threat. We’re in this together – and we’ll get through this, together," said the UN chief.
Twenty-three Bangladeshi nationals, quarantined in the suburbs of the Indian capital for 14 days, arrived home on Saturday afternoon.
A flight of IndiGo Airlines carrying them landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 2:56pm, confirmed the airline’s online flight information update.
The returnees were later handed over to their family members.
Bangladesh is taking other necessary measures in coordination with the World Health Organization for the safety and security of its expatriates, the foreign ministry said.
The flight left New Delhi at 11:58am (local time) with 23 Bangladeshis after they tested negative for coronavirus or COVID-19, an official told UNB.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Muhammad Imran and Deputy High Commissioner ATM Rokebul Haque saw them off at Indira Gandhi International Airport.
During their stay in the camp, the Bangladesh mission kept in constant touch with the camp authorities, Imran said.
Delhi-Dhaka airfare of the returnees was footed by the mission.
The Bangladeshis, mostly students and a family with a child, went through necessary health check-up on Thursday and no-one was found infected with coronavirus.
They were evacuated from China’s Wuhan, the epicenter of coronavirus, on February 27 by a special Indian Air Force flight with a number of other Indian nationals.
The Bangladesh nationals were quarantined in special facilities, said the High Commission in Dhaka.
"We’d like to extend our gratitude for the amazing work done by Indian Air Force and the Indian government," one of the students from the 23-member group told UNB.
On behalf of the group, she said living in a lockdown situation for a long period has been traumatic for all of them and it was a great relief when the Indian Embassy in Beijing spontaneously responded and agreed to take them onboard.
In a message of appreciation shared with UNB, the student wishing to remain unnamed also thanked China, their second home for study purpose.
"They deserve credit for being very responsible and sensitive for foreigners equally like their own nationals. We’ll always remember their support," the message reads.
The Bangladeshis said they were impressed with the professionalism of Indian officials and appreciated their positive attitude and ability to resolve issues immediately with patience.
"We're grateful for your (Indians) generous gesture for providing us with a safe shelter, food, friendly environment and good facilities at ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) in New Delhi," said the students.
Having India as a neighbouring country is one of the best things that happened to them, said one of the students. "Thank you once again for all your efforts."
Bangladesh brought back 312 of its nationals from China on February 1 and the remaining Bangladeshis got registered to return home.
A Bangladeshi expatriate businessman has been killed in a road accident in Saudi Arabia.
Md Shamsuddin, 35, son of Md Sirajul Islam of Noringpur in Shahrasti upazila, was injured after a speedy lorry hit him in Najran city on March 11.
Shafiqur Alam, uncle of the deceased, said the speedy lorry hit Shamsuddin while he was unloading goods at his own business enterprise.
He was rushed to a nearby hospital where the on-duty doctor declared him dead.