Hoping to build confidence among the engineers and workers, the metro rail project authorities are setting up two field hospitals for their employees infected with the coronavirus.
Physical work for building the hospitals with 10-15 beds in the capital’s Uttara and Gabtoli has started. Beds and oxygen cylinders have reached the sites, officials said.
“We hope to complete the work within next week. We will need some time to get the doctors,” MAN Siddque, Managing Director of Dhaka Mass Transit Company Ltd (DMTCL) said.
He has talked with the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) and a number of medical personnel will be hired as its advice.
Currently, six doctors, who received training in Covid-19 treatment, are providing health services for Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)-6, which is being built between Uttara and Motijheel, and a team is collecting samples from workers for Covid-19 tests, he added.
Physical work for the country’s first metro rail came to a halt after the government in late March shut down the economy to contain the spread of coronavirus. The project work progressed by only 0.55 percent in the last two months and it reached an overall 44.67 percent progress as of last month.
While the authorities are trying to accelerate the construction work, over 50 workers have already tested positive, officials said.
With growing concern over the slow work progress, the Fast Track Project Monitoring Taskforce held a meeting on Thursday with Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus in the chair.
DMTCL MD MAN Siddique told Kaikaus that Japan imposed an embargo on its nationals against leaving their country. “As most of the lead contractors and consultancy firms are from Japan, their absence is causing problems,” a participant quoted MAN Siddique as saying.
MAN Siddque told this paper that JICA and consultants are willing to join the works, but they could not do that due the embargo.
Asked about the health safety measures, he said apart from the under-construction field hospitals, they have deals with several private hospitals to treat their staffers.
He said around 40 percent, out of 9,000 to 10,000 workers have reached the project site and around 50 percent of the workers have been tested.