At least 300 Bangladeshi migrants who were jailed in Bahrain for various offences have been released by the Bahrain government in bid to control COVID-19 that has already spread to more than 170 countries.
Officials at Bangladesh embassy in Manama said that those Bangladeshis had been among 901 prisoners who were pardoned by the king of Bahrain.
As the countries across the world were struggling with the viral pandemic, they said that Bahrain ordered the release of the prisoners as part of an effort to contain the disease.
Bangladesh labour councilor in Manama Sheikh Mohammed Tauhidul Islam told New Age that they were taking administrative process to repatriate the Bangladeshi nationals released by the royal decree.
‘They will go through health check-ups before getting sent back home. If anyone is found COVID-19 positive, they will be quarantined in Bahrain,’ he said.
No Bangladeshi migrant in Bahrain have so far been infected with COVID-19 but many foreign workers, including Bangladeshis, are in two-week quarantine, which will end on Tuesday, he said.
Replying to a question, he said that released Bangladeshi prisoners would be issued travel permits to come back home after the reestablishment of the air connections between Bangladesh and the gulf state.
About 200,000 Bangladeshis are currently working in Bahrain, according to officials of the foreign ministry.
Bahrain king Hamad-bin-Isa Al Khalifa issued a decree granting pardon for 901 prisoners. A further 585 inmates will serve out the rest of their sentences in rehabilitation and training programs, the state-run Bahrain news agency reported.
As of Saturday, 270 cases of COVID-19 were reported in the small Gulf kingdom, which has a small population of nearly 1.7 million, making it one of the countries with the highest rate of the viral infection per thousand people.
Bahrain, the fourth most-densely populated country in the world, neighbour of Gulf states Kuwait and Qatar, have seen a big jump in confirmed cases this week though only a death has been recorded in the Gulf Arab states so far.
About half of the Bangladeshis who were released from prisons in Bahrain were accused of drug smuggling cases, said a Bangladeshi expatriate based in Manama.
According to the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, Bahrain started recruiting workers from Bangladesh in 1976. The Gulf state has so far recruited over 4.10 lakh workers, according to the bureau.
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