The garment industry of Bangladesh has resumed operations from Sunday, although on a limited scale.
However, it has given rise to fears that the resumption does not add to the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country, which is increasing by the day.
As per latest information, 5,913 people have tested positive of the dreaded virus with 152 fatalities reported so far.
The apprehensions many feel, are not unwarranted, considering that factories in one of the major hotspots in the country, have also started operations, and it could very well escalate the COVID-19 situation.
The first positive case of coronavirus was reported in Narayanganj, which is considered the epicentre of the epidemic’s outbreak in the country. It recorded 625 confirmed cases and 14 deaths so far.
What’s more Narayanganj is also held responsible for the spread of the dreaded disease to many other districts in the country.
The lack of adequate safety awareness, amongst the garment workers, complicates the matter more. “We talked to the factory owners so that they ensure safety measures of their workers to prevent the coronavirus infection,” claimed Inspector (Intelligence) of Industrial Police-4, Sheikh Bashir Uddin Ahmed.
However, irrespective of the safety measures within the factory premises, maintaining the social distancing norms outside the workplace, has emerged as a major concern.
Many health experts are of the opinion that reopening of the industry at such a juncture is a premature decision and wrought with risks.
“I personally think it’s not justified to allow reopening factories when the community transmission is taking a bad shape. We still couldn’t enforce the lockdown properly and force people to maintain the social distancing. Under such a situation, if we reopen factories, we’ve to pay a heavy price,” cautioned Prof. Kanak Kanti Barua, Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.
However, some economists believe that resuming operations is inevitable considering the importance and significance of the sector in the country’s economy and employment generation.