A group of US citizens, including some diplomats, will be leaving Bangladesh today in a chartered flight arranged by the US government amid fears of coronavirus pandemic, US embassy officials in Dhaka have said.
They have not, however, specified the number of those leaving.
"I can tell you the flight will be full … They are going because they want to be with their loved ones," an official said in a videoconference with some journalists yesterday.
An airlines source said the number of passengers would around 300.
The US State Department last week issued a travel advisory recommending its citizens not to travel abroad.
And if anyone wants to return to the US, the department would arrange it for them, the advisory said.
In response, some 10,000 US citizens have already returned to the US from 28 countries, the embassy officials in Dhaka said.
All passengers must agree to reimburse the U.S. Government for the flight by signing a promissory note for approximately the amount of a full-fare economy flight, or comparable alternate transportation, to the designated destination that would have been charged immediately before this crisis.
Asked, if the US citizens would feel safer in their country than in Bangladesh amid the coronavirus outbreak, a US diplomat said as per the regulations in Bangladesh, anyone having fever or symptoms of Covid-19 will be quarantined.
"Those leaving for the US want to be with their families. Many are choosing to stay here," the diplomat said.
The US embassy will remain open and the officials will have a tele-work arrangement.
Asked how the US and Bangladesh can cooperate to fight Covid-19, the officials said the US on March 11 announced that it would provide a $2.5 million grant for Bangladesh.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention of the US is providing technical expertise to Bangladesh to tackle the virus, he added.