Aircraft ready to bring back Bangladeshis from China: FM
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has said the government has taken all preparations and readied a aircraft to bring back Bangladeshi citizens who are ‘willing to return’ from China in view of the outbreak of deadly coronavirus there.
“We are ready … nearly 500 Bangladeshi students are now in Wuhan, the virus epicentre, … we have even prepared a plane to bring back them (who are willing to return),” he told journalists after inaugurating a workshop at a city hotel on Tuesday, reports BSS.
Momen said the Bangladesh embassy in China has opened a webpage where so far 245 students have made registrations to return. “We are keeping continuous contact with them,” he added.
The foreign minister said they have taken all initiatives as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had earlier instructed them to take steps to bring back the willing-to-return Bangladeshis now stranded in China.
However, Momen said, “It won’t be possible to bring back Bangladeshi students before two weeks as the Chinese authorities informed us that they made everyone quarantine there and won’t allow to leave at least in 14 days.”
He noted that the USA and Indian have also applied, like Bangladesh, to bring back their nationals but China won’t allow them to leave as well before 14 days.
Replying to a query, the foreign minister said the government directed the Dhaka airport authorities to record addresses of those arriving from China and South Korea.
“We will monitor all, including Chinese and Korean nationals, who travelled China and South Korea recently,” he said, adding that Bangladesh so far didn’t impose any travel bar to China due to the outbreak.
The government has also installed thermal scanners at the county’s all three international airports to screen all passengers coming from abroad.
“We have taken all preparations but would not like to create any panic regarding the virus outbreak,” he said. Bangladesh Embassy in Beijing has opened a 24-hour hotline to reach out the expatriate Bangladeshis if they need any emergency support due to the virus outbreak.
The hotline number is +86 178-0111-6005 and it has been circulated to Bangladeshi expatriates, especially students and researchers residing across China.
The Chinese government has sealed off Wuhan and other cities, effectively trapping more than 50 million people, including thousands of foreigners, in a bid to contain the virus while the death toll surged to 106 and the number of confirmed infections doubled to over 4,500.