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Last updated: 13th April 2020

Major Activities

 
Initiatives taken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) to combat coronavirus pandemic
 
• Ministry of Foreign Affairs set up a Coordination Cell, to work with National Task Force on Corona Virus and to provide guidance to Bangladesh Missions abroad. The Cell has been regularly collecting information from Bangladesh Missions abroad, and has been disseminating that information to the concerned Ministries and Agencies.
 
• Ministry of Foreign Affairs played an active role in bringing back home 312 Bangladeshi nationals from Wuhan, China. Ministry also facilitated bringing back another 23 Bangladeshi students from Wuhan with the help of India.
 
• The Corona Cell has been coordinating with foreign Embassies in Dhaka, UN Offices and other International Organizations in Bangladesh, and briefing them about steps taken by GoB to address the challenge of COVID-19;
 
• On 16th March 2020 at State Guest House Padma, Hon’ble Foreign Minister briefed the Heads of Missions and International Organizations based in Dhaka regarding the current situation of coronavirus pandemic in Bangladesh and pragmatic initiatives taken by the Government.
 
• Foreign Secretary held a meeting with Ambassadors/High Commissioners of West European countries in Dhaka on Sunday, 22nd March 2020 at State Guest House Padma. Ambassadors of France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland; High Commissioner of UK; and Ambassador and Head of EU Delegation of Dhaka attended the meeting. Foreign Secretary briefed the Ambassadors about the preparations by the GoB, and also assured them of assistance, if they require any.
 
• As part of our warm gesture for the Diplomatic Community residing in Bangladesh, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs embarked separate beds with all necessary medical facilities in three (03) hospitals, including Sheikh Russel Gastro-Liver Institute and Hospital, of our country for Diplomats and their families if they get infected while staying here. M/O Foreign Affairs also arranged for special testing facility for foreign diplomats and officials.
 
• The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, along with relevant Ministries, has been working with friendly countries – China and India, to get COVID-19 related support like PPE, testing kits, other necessary materials etc.
 
• Through the National Task Force (NTF), MOFA is working to ensure that the Rohingya camps are safe from COVID-19. A meeting of NTF took place on 22nd March 2020, chaired by the Foreign Secretary.
 
• It was decided in the meeting of NTF that there would be more active medical support and interventions in the Rohingya camps. It had also been decided that Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) would increase its activities in the camps to help with the medical support. On the issue of upgrading the cellphone network from 2G to 3G in the camps was discussed. The issue would be considered by the appropriate authority.
 
• M/O Foreign Affairs briefed UN System and EU Ambassadors about the situation in Rohingya camp and the measures taken to prevent Corona infection in camps.
 
• M/O Foreign Affairs are also providing Foreign Diplomatic Mission sin Dhaka in repatriation of some of their nationals who were working in different development projects which is now stopped for the time being.
 
• Issuing travel advisories for foreign countries/nationals in coordination with concerned Ministries and Authorities.
 
• Bangladesh Missions abroad, under direct guidance of the Ministry, are keeping contact with Bangladesh diaspora abroad. Bangladesh community members abroad are being discouraged to travel back to Bangladesh at this moment.
 
• Precautionary Measures have been circulated on Embassy Websites for Bangladeshi Community residing in different countries. Particularly, our Missions are maintaining active contact with our expatriates’, ensuring their well being and alsohospital support for the infected Bangladeshi nationals in different countries.
 
• All of our Missions opened emergency hotline numbers so that our community can immediately reach the Mission when needed.
 
• The Missions are sending daily inputs on the overall situation of respective countries, possible implications for Bangladesh and also monitoring the number of infected Bangladeshi nationals with recovery rate, admission rate or death due to coronavirus infection, if any.
 
• Our Missions provided policy inputs on social and economic measures taken by the respective Governments, along with other information on status of lockdown and visa policy for the time being.
 
• Many of our Missions have created a pool of doctors from the Bangladeshi born local doctor community of that particular country, and pursued them to give special service for the Bangladeshi community in this crisis. These pools of doctors are working relentlessly in terms of providing all kinds of support for the welfare of our community abroad.
 
• As anticipated by our Missions, a good number of Bangladeshi citizens have got stranded in many countries. Our Missions are developing a database of Bangladeshi Citizens under difficult situations with a view to ascertain how many of them are willing to go back and how many may need financial support.
 
• Our Missions abroad have already got necessary resource allocation to help the Bangladeshi Community in this regard.
 
• In the Official Website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a separate window has been opened to showcase the efforts of the Ministry in tackling this coronavirus escalation. This window has also been linked with the A2i under the Prime Minister’s Office and International Organization for Migration (IOM) website. These websites also connected with Hotlines of the Embassies meant for providing support to Bangladesh diaspora.
 
• MoFA, in collaboration with a2i/PMO and ICT Ministry has developed websites for expatriate Bangladeshis to provide online COVID-19 related telemedicine services. The Website links have been posted in the websites of all Bangladesh Missions aboard as well as MoFA Website.
 
• Following the guidance of MoFA, all of our Missions opened emergency hotline numbers and many of our Missions have created a pool of online doctors from the Bangladeshi born local doctor community of that particular country to give special service for the Bangladeshi community in this crisis.
 
• The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is coordinating with the Ministry of Health about SAARC COVID-19 Mechanism and funds. Under this funds Ministry of Foreign Affairs is helping other countries, including Bhutan and Sri Lanka.
 
• Following the video conference of SAARC Leaders, another video conference of senior health professionals from SAARC countries was held on 26 March 2020 in order to exchange experiences, best practices and so on. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is playing a crucial role in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in this regard.
 
• Ministry of Foreign Affairs, along with relevant Ministries, has been working with friendly countries – China and India, to get COVID-19 related support like PPE, testing kits, other necessary materials etc.
 
• Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided COVID-19 related materials to China and Bhutan.
 
• As several countries have been pushing our Government to bring back undocumented workers from their countries, particularly Middle Eastern countries, an Inter-Ministerial Coordination Meeting was held in the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment on 05 April 2020 to take decision. Hon’ble Minister for Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment chaired the meeting and Hon’ble Minister for Ministry of Home Affairs and Hon’ble Foreign Minister graced the meeting. The decisions taken from that meeting were subsequently circulated to missions to take immediate action to implement those decisions.
 
• M/O Foreign Affairs is also working closely with Armed Forces Division in many areas related to prevent spread of COVID-19 and its management. For instance, an Air Force C-130 Aircraft would go to Beijing via Kunming on 15 April to carry a Cargo of medical items. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our Mission in China are actively engaged in these processes.
 
• Ministry of Foreign Affairs s also working with ERD and Health Ministry and UN System to finalize the UN Country Preparedness and Response Plan so that we can quickly mobilize some COVID-19 funds through UN System.
 
• Foreign Service Community is a small community of only 344 Officials working at the Headquarters and Missions abroad. To demonstrate our responsibilities towards our country and people in time of need, all the Officials of the Ministry have donated their ‘PahelaBoishakh’ festive bonus to the Prime Minister’s relief fund amounting to 30 lakh taka.
 
• Hon’ble Foreign Minister have been in regular touch with a number of his counterparts in SAARC Region and other countries to address the challenges of COVID-19.
 
• Hon’ble Foreign Minister has also written to the Parliamentary Standing Committee informing it about the activities MoFA has been undertaking in the area of COVID-19.
 
• Ministry has compiled a country-wise list of stranded Bangladeshi nationals in different countries in the world.
 
• Ministry is discussing the possible ways on how these stranded nationals can be supported.
 
• Ministry is also advising Embassies about how the Bangladeshi diaspora can be supported in this trying time.
 
• Ministry is working closely with Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment to address the challenges of deportation of undocumented workers and detainees from Gulf countries.
 
• Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized an Inter-ministerial meeting today (9 April 2020) chaired by the Hon’ble Foreign Minister and participated by the Hon’ble Minister of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment, Hon’ble State Minister for Disaster Management, Hon’ble State Minister for Foreign Affairs and relevant secretaries to discuss the welfare issues of Bangladeshi workers in foreign countries as well as Bangladeshi nationals stranded abroad.
 
• In coordination with Ministries of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment, Home and Civil Aviation, MoFA is engaged in repatriation of stranded Bangladeshi workers and nationals in different countries in the world.
 
• The Ministry of Foreign Affairs are also providing support in repatriation of foreign nationals who were working in different sectors especially development projects in Bangladesh which is now stopped for the time being.
 
•  Foreign Minister received food donation from Envoys of Muslim countries in Dhaka for the destitute people on 11 April 2020   The donation was handed over to Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka in presence of Foreign Minister at the State Guest House Padma. 
 
The Foreign Minister thanked the Envoys expressed his gratitude to the ambassadors of the Muslim countries for their private help.

 


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