BD nationals in abroad helpless amid corona pandemic

Bangladeshi expatriates living in different countries, including Italy and Spain, are in panic as the global coronavirus pandemic getting worse with every passing day.

A sense of uncertainty has gripped them as most of them are there in self-isolation due to various restrictions imposed by the respective countries. More worrying is their joblessness due to the pandemic.

Sabuj Akanda, 24, a Bangladeshi living in Italy, told UNB the Bangladeshi nationals living in the European country are leading an uncertain life following the outbreak of coronavirus, especially those living illegally. “They’re the worst sufferers as they have no job and cannot go outside due to the restrictions imposed by the government.”

Sabuj who hails from Munshiganj shared his experience while talking to UNB over phone. He is working at a bakery shop in Italy.

Though he is married, he lives alone there and extends financial support to his family living in Bangladesh.

While talking to the UNB correspondent over phone, the expatriate said those who are living there legally used to work on a contractual basis. “Now, they’ve lost their jobs due to coronavirus spread. Their employers, however, assured them of paying their salaries. But if the situation prolongs, it won’t be possible for the owners to pay the money.”

In that case, the Italian government will have to take the responsibility, he said.

People living in the country are now struggling to manage house rent as they are now unemployed and have no enough money to bear the expenses, Sabuj added.

A person living in the country have to count at least 120 Euros per month as house rent and most people living there have said they have no enough money to maintain the costs.

Mentioning that those who are living with their families and children are given 600 Euros per month from the Italian government, Sabuj said the unauthorised expatriates do not get the benefit.

Besides, people living illegally are fined 260 Euros if anyone is found outside their respective homes without any emergency case. They are only allowed to go outside for bringing food and medicines after filling up a specific form, he said.

Khorshed Alam, 60, has been living in Madrid of Spain along with his family – wife, two sons and one daughter — for the last 30 years. He has his own wire business there.

Sharing his experience with the UNB correspondent, he said the authorities concerned have shut down all the mosques, churches and shopping malls in the country to contain the virus. “Only grocery shops and medicine shops are open.”

About 10,000-12,000 Bangladeshi nationals are living in Madrid while the number of Bangladeshis in Barcelona is over 15,000, said Khorshed, also a community leader hailing from Chandpur district.

Most of the Bangladeshi nationals are living in mess-houses and they are not allowed to go outside, he said, adding that authorities slap a fine of 500-2,000 Euros if anyone is found roaming outside.

Many Bangladeshis have their own business there. However, they cannot go outside and run their businesses following the restrictions, the expatriate said.

Masud Reza, 55, manager of a residential hotel in Frankfurt, Germany, said coronavirus has hit hard every sector there.

He said Bangladeshi nationals living there are passing their days in fear of possible economic downturn as the government has asked people to stay indoors and not to go outside without any emergency.

Coronavirus or COVID-19, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, has affected 162 countries and territories around the world and one international conveyance (the Diamond Princess cruise ship harboured in Yokohama, Japan).

According to worldometer, the global death toll from COVID-19 has climbed to 7,164 as of Tuesday. The disease has so far infected 182,550 people around the world.

Italy recorded 349 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll in the European country worst hit by coronavirus to 2,158.

Spain has so far reported 342 deaths, including 48 in the last 24 hours, while France witnessed 148 deaths in total with 21 of them in a day.

In an effort to fight the pandemic, both Italy and Spain have been put in lockdown in their entirety, forcing people to stay indoors.

Meanwhile, China where the coronavirus originated witnessed only 13 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Bangladesh has reported 10 cases as of Tuesday.

source: UNB