Published:  12:59 AM, 26 March 2020

'Saving lives is top priority'

'Saving lives is top priority'

Saving the people from the coronavirus infection is a matter of maximum priority to the government, Sheikh Hasina has said, as the pandemic is ravaging the world and with hundreds of deaths and thousands of infections daily.

"I know that you are passing your days in panic.

Those living abroad are also worried about their loved ones here," the prime minister said in a televised address to the nation on Wednesday, the eve of the Independence Day. Bangladesh had already started shutting itself down due to the outbreak, reports

"I know how you feel now. But we must tackle the situation with patience and courage. We must be tolerant and sensible," Hasina urged the nation.

She assured the people of government efforts to fight the virus, saying, "At this moment, we are giving maximum priority to saving the people from the deadly virus."

The prime minister warned traders against price gouging as panic buying put pressure on the market when new coronavirus cases continued to be reported.

"There is no shortage of any commodities in the market. Domestic and overseas supply chains are intact. So, don't increase public suffering by hiking prices illogically. We've market monitoring everywhere," she said.

Sheikh Hasina has announced a Tk 50 billion package for workers employed in the export industries to help factory owners cope with the impact of the coronavirus.

The fund can be used only for paying wages and allowances to the workers and other employees, the prime minister in her televised address to the nation on the eve of Independence Day. "Our production and exports can be impacted. Therefore, we took some emergency measures," said Hasina.

Bangladesh Bank already took some business-friendly initiatives, including the decision not to declare any customer a loan defaulter until June, she said.

"Many people became unemployed because of the coronavirus epidemic. We need to stand beside them. Members of the lower income groups will receive assistance in their own villages under the program 'Ghore Fera'. Homeless and landless people will get free housing, food for six months and cash incentive," Hasina said.

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