A total of 312 Bangladeshis, who were stranded in Coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan, landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the capital yesterday morning.
Family members of the returnees said they were relieved after their relatives’ return, but a fear of the virus transmission gripped them.
Nasima, whose 19-year-old son Sadman Sakib was one of the returnees, said she was afraid that the virus might transmit to the returnees from one person as they were kept in a congested area.
“He [Sakib] was under better [medical] supervision in China,” she said.
Nasima, along with her husband Sharifuzzaman, waited in front of Ashkona Hajj Camp throughout the day but failed to meet their son.
Of the returnees, 304 were kept quarantined in four rooms on the third floor of the camp where they would stay for the next 14 days under observation.
Rest of the seven were directly sent to Kurmitola General Hospital and another to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka cantonment from the airport. They had high body temperature.
Like Nasima- Sharifuzzaman couple, many guardians and relatives of the returnees were seen thronging on the camp premises to know about the situation of their loved ones.
Some of them alleged that the authorities concerned were not supplying enough food for the returnees. Quoting the returnees inside the camp, they alleged that the environment inside the camp was dirty with mosquito infestation.
Shariar Sajjat, assistant health director of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, said a chartered flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines landed at the airport at 11:55am with the returnees.
Three infants, 12 children and 297 adults were among the returnees. None of them had flu symptoms while boarding the flight in Wuhan, he added.
Earlier on Friday, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said a total of 361 Bangladeshis would be flown back as part of a voluntary evacuation.
Foreign ministry officials, however, said 49 Bangladeshis did not want to return.
Later in the evening, the health minister told journalists that they had managed to complete every arrangement inside the camp.
“We have served necessary things for the returnees. Our team would solve all other problems,” the minister said.
SUSPECTED CASES ROSE TO 10
With the eight admitted to hospitals yesterday, the number of suspected case of novel coronavirus infection has rose to 10, according to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).
On Thursday, a Chinese national was admitted to a hospital with fever while a Bangladeshi software engineer with symptom of fever was sent to Kurmitola General Hospital after he returned from China.
The IEDCR has collected samples from the new eight suspected returnees for test yesterday.
ASM Alamgir, principal scientific officer of IEDCR, told The Daily Star, “We would take two to three days to know the test result.”
The IEDCR has the only coronavirus test facility in the country.
Asked whether it was enough, Alamgir said when such a pandemic case was found in 100 to 200 cases, it meant transmission to locality. In such a situation, there would be no need to test every case.
He urged relatives of the returnees to keep patience and not to gather in front of the camp.
We would brief about their health status daily in a particular time, he added.
Besides Kurmitola General Hospital and CMH Dhaka, the authorities have designated five beds to each government hospital across the country.
Meanwhile, the number of deaths from the coronavirus epidemic in China rose to 259 with 137 proven cases of transmission in around two dozen countries.