As Bangladesh imposed country-wide lockdown amid fears of the COVID-19 outbreak, local celebrities and students vow to help the nation fight the novel virus.
One of the most well-known faces in the country, the captain of Bangladesh cricket team Tamim IqbaI, announced through Facebook that the national team will donate half of their monthly salary to the government fund to fight the pandemic.
The total amount will be to the tune of 2.5 million Bangladeshi taka ($290,000) excluding taxes, as the whole national squad will contribute to the government’s support fund.
The captain said that the players are trying to spread awareness about the virus through social media platforms, however, that will not be enough and people have to do more in such a time of crisis.
“The amount may not be huge to fight the virus in the country, but together we can raise more and contribute to support the fight against corona,” he said, “we can do our best from where we stand despite how small our efforts are.”
Bangladesh imposed a nationwide lockdown on Tuesday to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, as the country reported five deaths and confirmed at least 39 cases, so far.
Many on Iqbal’s verified Facebook page, which has around two million followers, poured their appreciation for the initiative. But some criticized corporates and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for not being proactive with their efforts.
While celebrities are helping with resources and awareness, it is the student-led organizations that are making a difference on the ground. Bidyanondo Foundation, a voluntary organization, was one of the first to jump on the fray when confirmed cases of the virus began to emerge.
As part of their voluntary works, they are spraying disinfectants in public transport vehicles and also making arrangements to feed 200,000 people living in slums in and around the capital Dhaka.
“We are collecting donation for daily-wage labors in Dhaka who are worst hit by the lockdown,” Suntana Jannat, a volunteer at the foundation told the Anadolu Agency.
The organization managed to acquire resources to feed 70,000 people in the last few weeks. But still has a long way to go.
“To meet the goal we need more support, specially from the rich people in the country,” she added.
After first appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the new coronavirus has spread to at least 171 countries and territories. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a pandemic.
The number of confirmed cases worldwide has now surpassed 435,000 while the death toll is over 19,600 and almost 112,000 have recovered, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
Despite the rising number of cases, the majority of people who contract the virus suffer only mild symptoms before making a recovery.