A total of 361 Bangladeshis, stranded in the coronavirus-hit Chinese city Wuhan, are set to return home early today.
A special flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines headed towards Wuhan from Dhaka around 5:30pm yesterday to carry them back, said sources at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
Four doctors -- three from Bangladesh Army and one from the airport health department -- are accompanying the cabin crews to ensure a safe return of the Bangladeshis.
Before boarding on the 419-seater plane, all the returnees would be screened, according to officials.
As per the guideline of The World Health Organization, none with flu symptoms -- cold, cough, fever, throat pain or other would be allowed to fly to the country.
“None of the 361 are sick now. They will be first screened before boarding on the plane and our health team will screen again after they will land at Dhaka,” Prof Meerjady Sabrina Flora, director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) told The Daily Star last evening.
The plane to China is carrying surgical and N95 masks, gloves, disposable gowns, hand sanitizer, caps, shoe covers and other necessary equipment for the evacuees, crew members and health workers, according to officials.
All the returnees would be kept quarantined for 14 days in the rooms on the second floor of Ashkona Hajj Camp, which is a five-minute drive away from the airport in Dhaka.
Bangladesh Army will supervise the camp during the quarantined period, Health Minister Dr Zahid Maleque told the journalists during his visit to the camp yesterday noon.
Nobody would be allowed to meet their family members or any others during this period due to safety reasons.
However, they would be allowed to talk with family members over phone.
The returnees consist of 19 families including 18 children.
Although a total of 376 Bangladeshis had registered for returning in the beginning, 15 of them cancelled later, according to the minister.