Published:  04:51 AM, 20 March 2020

Ctg authority takes measures to prevent virus

Ctg authority takes measures to prevent virus Staff members of Khulshi Mart in port city checking temperature of a customer with a hand held infrared thermometer before entering the store premises. -Collected

Chattogram Metropo-litan Police (CMP) has banned all kinds of public gatherings along Patenga beach from Wednesday till further notice while district commissioners of the country's two popular beach towns of Cox's Bazar and Kuakata urged all to cancel their tour plans there in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The government on Tuesday ordered heightened measures at all ports and public hospitals to check the 'transportation and transmission of coronavirus' after its recent outbreak in China as there was no medicine yet to cure the disease.

The order came at an inter-ministerial meeting on the preparedness against the coronavirus outbreak from Wuhan province of China, said officials, adding that Bangladesh was not going to impose any ban on travel to and from China at the moment.

The coronavirus-infected persons carry symptoms like fever, sneezing, coughing and breathing difficulties while the disease spreads from fishes and animals, including bat and rat, he said. 

'We have already prepared a protocol to manage the coronavirus-infected patients in keeping with the interim guidance of the WHO [World Health Organisation],' said the minister, adding that there was neither any medicine to treat the infection nor any vaccine to prevent it.

He said that isolation was the first precaution as the disease spread very fast. Zahid said that over 100 persons had already died of coronavirus infection in China where 3,000 more people were detected positive while 5,000 more were suspected to be infected with the disease in the East Asian country after its outbreak last week.

It's yet to be done by everyone, but a few supershops in the port city are standing out by employing exemplary cautionary measures to protect against the possible spread of coronavirus, earning praise of customers.

As fear grips city dwellers about probable lockdown in the coming days, different supershops have been experiencing sudden buying spree over the last few days. In these trying times, these supershops have started taking measures like sanitising customers' hands and providing equipment to staff.

Khulshi Mart, the city's oldest super shop, located in a neighbourhood that houses foreign missions, schools, universities and a culturally diverse community, has already taken some pioneering steps in this regard.

Since last week, shop authorities have started mandatory screening of all its customers with hand held infrared thermometer and spraying them with hand sanitiser before entering store premises.While visiting the supershop yesterday, this correspondent saw two staffers taking on this duty while anothere was busy disinfecting trolley handlers.

Md Shaker Hossain, maintenance in charge of Mart Promoters Ltd, the company behind Khulshi Mart, said they are cleaning the premises and floors every two hours to keep the outlet disinfected and were discouraging customers who were found to have fever. Additionally, all store staff have been provided with hand gloves and masks, with mandatory hand sanitising during each entry and exit to go with it, he said.

Similar cautionary steps have been taken across all 10 outlets of K-Bakery, a sister concern of Khulshi Mart, he added. Nusrat Jahan, a resident of the area, who came to Khulshi Mart for some grocery items said the measures are praiseworthy.

Staff at Shopping Bag, a super shop near Kazir Dewry area, were also found spraying customers with liquid disinfectant during entry.Mohammed Ariful Islam, Senior Supervisor of the outlet, said they started this programme on March 13. All store staff have been provided with masks, he added.

However, such steps were yet to be seen in other shops, Kamal Hossain, an entrepreneur, lamented. When visiting a few other super shops, this correspondent did not see any such measures, where customers were seen entering and exiting store premises casually. However, some staffers were seen wearing masks while serving customers. This scenario was seen in popular super shops Shwapno and Agora's outlets at Golpahar Mor and Nasirabad.

However, Md Abdullah Al-Mamun, outlet in-charge of Agora, denied complete negligence and said they are keeping han sanitiser bottles at the entrance and at every counter so that customers can use it.Masud Parvez, a customer, stressed the need to take more precautionary steps at super shops, since a good number of people gather here everyday.

Bangladesh also imposed a ban on all travellers from Europe except the UK, till March 31 which is also applicable for other nations that restricted Bangladeshis entry to their territories over the coronavirus. The government suspended visa-on-arrival facilities for all nationals to enter Bangladesh to prevent the killer bugs outbreak here.

"Since February onward we got almost 80 per cent cancellation of tour packages in both inbound and outbound sectors," said TOAB president Md Rafeeuzzaman. Noting that China, Japan, Singapore, India and Italy are big markets for Bangladesh inbound tourism while India, Nepal, Bhutan, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia for outbound destinations, he said "all these countries are suffering over coronavirus that damaged our entire industry," he said.

TOAB, the apex body of Bangladesh tour operators, has already postponed the country's biggest tourism fair named 'Bangladesh Travel and Tourism Fair (BTTF)', supposed to be held in April, due to the threat of killer virus. At a press conference early this week, the TOAB leaders placed some recommendations to the government to save the dampened travel industry from the harmful effects of the coronavirus outbreak.

These includes offering convenient visa facility at low cost, relaxing unnecessary restrictions at airports, lowering tourist tax, increasing allocation for travel destination promotion, decreasing tax on air tickets, providing incentive for tour operators and giving bank loans on easy terms.

Meanwhile, the The government today declared that three more persons were infected with coronavirus (COVID-19), raising the number of corona patients to 17 in the country a day after Bangladesh saw its first fatality of COVID-19, as a 70-year-old male died of the deadly virus.

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