Bangladeshi students in Wuhan city of China, the epicentre of the Coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed 41 lives so far, are under a lockdown in their respective dorms and residences for the last two days.
Many have appealed through social media networks, asking for help from the Bangladesh mission in China, saying they want to return to Bangladesh. They are also worried as their food stock is running low and most superstores in Wuhan remain closed.
Wuhan, a city of 11 million, is in virtual lockdown. All passenger flights at the airport have been canceled and checkpoints block the main roads leading out of town.
Authorities have since imposed similar lockdowns on more than 10 cities near Wuhan as part of the ongoing containment effort and Bangladeshi students, nearly 500 of them currently in the city, are caught up in the lockdown, Asif Ahmed Sourov, a student at Hubei University of Technology.
The Daily Star got in touch with one of the students stuck in his dorm at the same university who also appealed for help through a Facebook post. Rakibil Turja (23) went to Wuhan nearly one and a half years back and is currently pursuing a degree in Mechanical and Automation Engineering at the university.
While the university remains closed during this time of the season, Rakibil happens to be under lockdown at his dorm, from January 23. He is not the only Bangladeshi there. According to him, there are at least 140 other Bangladeshi students in his university alone but no official authorities -- both from Bangladesh mission or University -- have gotten in touch with the students.
Not only is there a lack of information, the students are very frustrated and worried because their stock of food is running low. “There is no one infected in the university yet. Which is why they are even more vigilant to ensure no one gets infected,” Rakibil said.
“But our mobility is severely restricted. We have to sign our names in a register book, say where we are going and only then we are allowed to go out. And either way, all shopping malls are closed so we really cannot buy any groceries or food,” he added.
The Bangladesh Embassy in Beijing has said its officials are in regular contact with the Bangladeshi students and are ready to assist them, reports UNB.
Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry officials in Dhaka have said no one reached out to them regarding this.
An official of the External Publicity Wing at the foreign ministry suggested the students contact a hotline number at Bangladesh Embassy: +(86)17801116005.