Dhaka, Feb 03: The crewmembers of Biman aircraft, returned from Coronavirus-hit Wuhan of China carrying 312 Bangladeshis, are now denied visas to enter other countries.“A team of 171 Bangladeshis of different ages is also there (Hubei province of China), who want to return home. Now the problem is that the pilots of our aircraft that had been there (Wuhan) are not allowed to enter any other country,” said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam.
The Cabinet Secretary was briefing reporters at the Secretariat after a high-level meeting over Coronavirus.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chaired the special meeting held after the Cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office to discuss measures so that Coronavirus cannot enter the country.
“Singapore has already informed that these crewmembers can’t enter their country,” said the Cabinet Secretary.
In this context, the meeting suggested bringing the Bangladeshis back from Hubei province by any chartered plane of China. “Any chartered plane or Chinese plane will be the best option (to bring them back),” Anwarul Islam said.
Asked whether Bangladesh will suspend the flights on Bangladesh-China route, he said four flights are now operating on the route every day.
The Civil Aviation Secretary said each flight now gets only 10-12 passengers. “I think the respective airlines will suspend their operation on this route.”
Bangladesh imposed a restriction on Wuhan-based Chinese workers to visit Bangladesh, he said.
He said the 171 Bangladeshis will be brought back to the country upon clearance from Chinese authorities, he said adding that the Bangladeshi embassy in Beijing has already asked to discuss with the China authorities in this regard.
The meeting stressed the need for taking all-out measures so that the deadly Coronavirus in no way can enter Bangladesh.
At the meeting, the authorities concerned were asked to take measures so that the people of the country do not get panicked as no-one with Coronavirus has been detected in Bangladesh yet and the government has taken proper measures to check the virus, he said.
Anwarul Islam said doctors had conducted blood tests of all the returnees. “No-one of 312 was found infected with Coronavirus,” he said adding that the Chinese government has ensured that any person infected by Coronavirus would not be allowed to leave their country.
He said physicians and experts were also among the 20-25 people who attended the special meeting.
The novel coronavirus, which spread from China’s Wuhan, has so far killed 361 people and infected more than 17,300 globally until Monday, reports AP.
On Saturday, Bangladesh has brought its 312 citizens back from China’s Wuhan, the epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak, and eight of them were sent to hospital.