409 Bangladeshi back from Jeddah

Sunbd Desk || Published: 2020-03-18 04:07:22 || Updated: 2020-03-18 04:07:22

Coronavirus spread over the worldwide from chin. Due to this reason Biman Bangladesh Airlines brought back 409 Bangladeshi from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday while suspended its flights to and from Malaysia for two weeks from Wednesday.

Biman on special arrangement brought back 409 passengers who got stranded after performing umrah as Saudi Arabia on March 4 suspended ‘umrah’ pilgrimage.

Biman Bangladesh Airlines managing director Md Mokabbir Hossain said all the passengers were Bangladeshi and they were sent to their homes.

Due to travel restriction until March 31, two foreigners —one from the United States and another from Ivory Coast —who landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport early Tuesday were sent back to their respective countries as they did not have visa.

‘We sent them back on their respective separate flights’, said Group Caption  AHM Touhid-ul-Ahsan, director of Dhaka airport.

Earlier on March 15, the government cancelled visas on arrival till March 31.

The Himalayan Airlines officials also said that they had suspended their direct daily flights from Thursday to April 11 while the operators were told that Nepal would shortly ‘lockdown’ their airports. Biman suspended tis flights to and from Kathmandu due shortage of passengers.

Bangladesh suspended all flights from Europe for two weeks and suspended flights to and from Thailand and Nepal while Kuwait, India, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, among others, as they either announced lockdown their airports or suspended direct entry of Bangladeshis.

Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Bhutan, among others, also suspended visas on arrival over the spread of corona.

Qatar authorities suspended direct entry from Bangladesh, among other countries, but passengers from all destinations served by Qatar Airways can still travel with the airline and transit through the Hamad International Airport in Doha.

Three Bangladeshis got stranded midway in Doha since Monday as Qatar Airways boarded them from Sweden despite Bangladesh’s flight ban from all European countries.

The stranded Bangladeshis are Mozammel Haque Bhuiyan, 59, his wife Rafiza Afroz, 48, and another woman named Raihana Begum, 63.

Mozammel said, ‘I went to meet my daughter in Sweden on February 20. We bought return tickets for March 16. Following Bangladesh’s flight ban from European countries last Saturday, we contacted Qatar Airways. The airline then assured us that they would manage to carry us to Dhaka’.

‘We boarded QR 170 flight from Stockholm Airport at 8:05am on Monday. They then issued two boarding passes from Stockholm-Qatar and Qatar-Dhaka. We were scheduled to fly for Dhaka at 6:05am local time by a QR 638 flight,’ he said.

Mozammel also said that the flight from Stockholm reached Doha airport at 4:15pm (local time). The flight carried as many as 11-12 passengers including three Bangladeshis.

‘Once we reached Doha, they declined to send us to Dhaka and seized our passports,’ Mozammel added.

It has been learnt that the QR638 flight landed in Dhaka airport around 1:55am without the three Bangladeshis.

Bangladesh suspended visas on arrival for all countries and snapped both-way travel with Europe until 31 March from midnight past Sunday fearing to keep the country safe from coronavirus outbreak.

An executive of Qatar Airways said that not only from Qatar, many passengers could not return from other European countries too and Bangladeshi government could consider the issue on humanitarian ground.

The United Arad Emirates on March 14 suspended visas, effective from Tuesday (March 17), to all foreigners, with the exception of diplomatic passport holders.

Benapole Immigration Police check point officer-in-charge Mohsin Uddin on Tuesday said that they on Monday evening barred entry of 19 Indian citizens from crossing international boundary for not having necessary papers, including medical reports from India and approval from Bangladesh Investment Development Authority.

All of them work at Rampal Power Plant in Rampal of Bagerhat, he said.

The global death toll from COVID-19 climbed to 7,164 on Tuesday. The disease has so far infected 182,550 people around the world, according to worldometer.

Bangladesh has so far confirmed 10 cases.

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