Activists for service, support to migrants during coronavirus outbreak

As the outbreak of the coronavirus disease worsens, global migrant’s rights activists have called upon the governments of affected countries to bring migrant workers there under their services and supports over the novel virus outbreak.

In a statement, Hong Kong-based Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants on Thursday said that the coronavirus disease exposed the growing vulnerability and insecurity to the migrant workers everywhere.

Film4Peace Foundation executive director Pervez Siddiqui, who is APMM member in Bangladesh, told New Age that Bangladesh government should issue a statement immediately seeking protection of Bangladesh workers in destination countries to make them aware about the virus and ensure access to the health services.

‘Migrant workers are already in the risk of the disease. The government with the help of Wage Earners Welfare Board should open an emergency support cell for Bangladeshi migrants across the globe through Bangladesh embassies and partnership with host countries,’ he said.

COVID-19 has infected more than 82,000 individuals in 44 countries and territories as well as in the cruise ship MV Diamond Princess. Deaths numbering to 2,801 have already been recorded.

Till date, APMM contracted infected workers including 1 Filipino domestic worker in Hong Kong, 1 Bangladeshi worker and 1 Indonesian domestic worker in Singapore, 1 Bangladeshi worker in the United Arab Emirates, and 1 Filipino caregiver in Taiwan, the statement said.

Malnutrition, among many poor working conditions, has been cited as a possible factor that makes Bangladeshi construction workers vulnerable to the virus in Singapore, the APMM statement said.

Wage Earners Welfare Board deputy director Zahid Anwar told New Age that they were ready to provide support to the migrant workers through Bangladesh missions abroad.

‘We have sent Tk 40,000 to Bangladesh mission in Hong Kong to purchase surgical masks for our migrants there,’ he said, adding that if necessary the board would allocate fund for migrants in other countries. (Source: New Age)

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