DHAKA: Bangladesh has reopened hundreds of its garment factories this week after nearly one month of closures to fight the coronavirus pandemic in a move critics say risks igniting a sharp increase in infections among workers.
An industry group said that about 850 factories are operating with fewer workers than usual and following safety guidelines. Labor advocates say not enough is being done to ensure safety for the four million workers in Bangladesh’s roughly 4,000 garment factories.
The number of factories that have reopened is in dispute. Activists and analysts said Friday about 2,000 garment factories have restarted production.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association says only 850 factories had opened by Thursday, using a limited number of workers who live nearby.
“The global brands are happy to see the factories opening up as otherwise a whole season would have been lost,” Mohammad Abdur Razzak, secretary of the industry group, said in an email.