The government has pointed out that all garment factories across Bangladesh stayed open even when the health department reported new cases of coronavirus infection.
''If the government decides to shut down garment factories, it will increase the risk of coronavirus spreading to villages. No one will be spared from infection,'' said State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Monnujan Sufian on Sunday said while addressing a meeting with labour leaders in the capital.
''Shutting down apparel factories is not a big deal. If schools, colleges, factories are closed, everyone will go to their villages which will increase the risk of spreading the coronavirus.''
''The dengue outbreak last year was initially limited to Dhaka. It spread across the country during Eid vacation when everyone went home.''
Responding to the labour leaders' demand, the state minister said, if needed, the government will increase assistance for workers from its Labour Welfare Foundation fund and the central fund.
Sufian also asked workers to be aware of the virus and to take preventive measures.
"We want garments factories to continue operating," said Jatiya Sramik League President Fazlul Haque Montu.
"Shutting down the factories will not be a solution. Closing it can lead to the spread of coronavirus."
Labor Secretary KM Ali Azam, Director General of Labor Department AKM Mizanur Rahman, Labor Federation President Shah Md Abu Jafar, Socialist Workers Front President Rajkuzaman Ratan and National Garment Workers Federation General Secretary Amirul Haque Amin were present at the meeting.