361 Bangladeshis returning home from Wuhan Saturday: FM


Dhaka, Jan 31: A special flight of Bangladesh Biman is going to China on Saturday to bring back 361 Bangladeshis trapped in Wuhan, the epicenter of coronavirus outbreak.Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said this at a press briefing at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

“We’re ready to bring Bangladeshis living there. We also informed the Chinese government. They’ve given permission…we can now bring our citizens back,” said the minister.

China counted 9,692 confirmed cases with a death toll of 213, including 43 new fatalities till Friday morning, reports AP.

The vast majority of the cases have been in Hubei province and its provincial capital, Wuhan. No death has been reported outside China.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister mentioned that the Chinese Government has confirmed that no-one of the Bangladeshi returnees has been infected with the virus.

“A special flight of Bangladesh Biman will fly to Wuhan at nearly 5pm this afternoon. 361 Bangladeshis will be brought on this flight. The return flight will reach Dhaka by early Saturday,” said the minister.

He mentioned that the returnees from Wuhan will be kept at the Quarantine unit at Ashkona Haj camp for a certain period for observation.

“Among the 361 returnees, 18 are family members of Bangladeshi students with two children and the rest are students,” Abdul Momen said.

Foreign Minister on Thursday said the government had planned to bring back 370 registered Bangladesh citizens from Wuhan on clearance from Chinese government.

No-one of them has been affected so far by coronavirus but they are likely to be kept at Ashkona Hajj Camp for safety and observation, the minister said.

Earlier in the day, the foreign minister said a total of 370 Bangladesh citizens from 22 institutions, mostly from Wuhan city of China, have registered their names expressing their willingness to return home.

But, 15 Bangladesh citizens have opted to stay back in China for better health facilities in China and avoid the risk of transmitting the coronavirus in Bangladesh, said the foreign minister.

Dr Momen said the Chinese authorities informed Bangladesh that they will bear all the expenses of treatment if any foreigners affected by the virus.

The Foreign Minister said the Health Ministry will take care of the returnees upon their arrival in Bangladesh.

He said the Health Ministry has taken necessary preparations to make spaces in hospitals to monitor the returnees from China.

Bangladesh will keep those who will return to Bangladesh under observation before China lifts the ongoing 14-day restriction to avoid any risk.

Quarantine is a state, period or place of isolation in which people or animals that have arrived from elsewhere or been exposed to infectious or contagious disease are placed.

Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Embassy in Beijing has opened a hotline number + (86)-17801116005 for Bangladeshis.

There are about 400-500 Bangladeshi students in Wuhan, according to the Foreign Ministry here.