BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's health might not be stable enough for a long flight, her doctors said as her family members want to take her abroad for better treatment.
Her travel abroad also depends on renewal of her passport, visa from the destination country, and the Bangladesh government's approval.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir yesterday urged the government to look at the matter from a humanitarian perspective and make the arrangements needed to send Khaleda abroad for treatment of her post-Covid complications.
Hospital sources said Khaleda's health has been showing no sign of improvement.
"This non-improvement is not a good sign and her condition is not suitable for flying for a six- or eight-hour flight," a doctor involved in Khaleda's treatment told The Daily Star.
The former prime minister is having breathing difficulties without oxygen support, he said.
"Her health neither improved nor deteriorated. But this stability is not good."
On the other hand, BNP sources said Khaleda's family members received "a positive signal" from the UK government regarding her treatment in a London hospital.
They will start preparing to fly her to London as soon as they get the clearance from the Bangladesh government.
Besides, it has not yet been decided which hospital to take her to and whether a special flight or an ambulance will be needed to fly her out of the country.
Fakhrul told reporters that BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman was coordinating the process.
BNP leaders said getting the government approval remained the main challenge as she was released from jail through an executive order of the government on the condition that she does not leave the country.
That's why Khaleda's brother Shamim Iskandar wrote to the home ministry seeking permission on Wednesday night.
The BNP chairperson can be flown abroad if the law ministry amends the order, they added.
Law Minister Anisul Huq said he might give his opinion on the next work day, which would be Sunday.
"I received the file [regarding Khaleda Zia's treatment abroad] from the office of law secretary at 4:00pm. I will go through the file before giving my opinion on the matter," he told The Daily Star yesterday.
Family sources said they will apply for a visa once they get the government approval. If she wants to go to the UK, then they will decide which hospital to take her to.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told reporters that Khaleda will get the passport soon.
Her passport expired in 2019.
A passport owner's fingerprint and her signature are required on a passport, but the rule has been relaxed in her case, family members said.
The home minister on Wednesday told reporters that the government was "considering the issue positively".
Khaleda was admitted to Evercare Hospital on April 27, three days after she tested positive for coronavirus a second time. She first tested positive on April 11. She also has arthritis, diabetes and eye problems.
She was taken to the hospital's Coronary Care Unit with breathing difficulties Monday afternoon.
Her family members are thinking of taking her to the UK or Thailand or Singapore.
The government released Khaleda from jail on March 25 last year, suspending the sentence as per section 401 (1) of the Criminal Code of Procedure.
The suspension was later extended twice.
The BNP chairperson landed in jail on February 8, 2018, after a special court sentenced her to five years in prison in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. On October 30, 2018, the High Court raised her punishment to 10 years.