“No one of them has been affected so far by novel Coronavirus but they are likely to be kept at Ashkona Hajj Camp for safety and observation,” the minister said. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed the authorities concerned to take necessary steps on an emergency basis in view of the crisis, which arose from Coronovirus.
The foreign minister and health minister Zahid Maleque will visit the Hajj Camp on Friday to see the preparations.
Earlier in the day, the foreign minister said a total of 370 Bangladesh citizens from 22 institutions, mostly from Wuhan city of China, have registered their names expressing their willingness to return home.
But, 15 Bangladesh citizens have opted to stay back in China for better health facilities in China and avoid the risk of transmitting the coronavirus in Bangladesh, said the foreign minister.
Momen said the Chinese authorities informed Bangladesh that they will bear all the expenses of treatment if any foreigner is affected by the virus.
We are ready to take them back (who are willing to return), he told reporters adding that the government does not want to overplay China’s decision of ongoing 14-day quarantine period.
The death toll from the pathogen has risen to 170 with confirmed cases topping 7,700 in China while India claimed a patient in Kerala had tested positive for the deadly virus, the first case in the country.
Earlier, the foreign minister attended the closing ceremony of Bangladesh Development Forum 2020 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the capital.
“Bangladesh embassy in Beijing is working round the clock to prepare the list of willing citizens and their safe return to Bangladesh,” officials said.
The foreign minister said Bangladeshi citizens will be brought to airport from Wuhan city, the epicentre of the virus, by bus as Bangladesh will send commercial flight upon getting a date from the Chinese authorities.
Asked when Bangladesh citizens can return, Momen said they will be brought back when the Chinese government allows.
The foreign minister said the health ministry will take care of the returnees upon their arrival in Bangladesh.
He said the health ministry has taken necessary preparations to make spaces in hospitals to monitor the returnees from China.
Replying to another question, Momen said Bangladesh has no plan to impose any travel ban to and from China. We don’t want to be panicked.
Earlier, a flight from Wuhan carrying US government personnel and some private Americans safely landed in California.
These travellers will carefully be screened and monitored by health experts at the US Canters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Health and Human Services (HHS), according to the US Department of State.
“All appropriate steps are being taken to safeguard the health of these returning Americans, as well as the health and safety of their fellow Americans here at home,” it said.
Bangladesh will also keep those who will return to Bangladesh under observation before China lifts the ongoing 14-day restriction to avoid any risk.
Quarantine is a state, period or place of isolation in which people or animals that have arrived from elsewhere or been exposed to infectious or contagious disease are placed.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh embassy in Beijing has opened a hotline number for Bangladeshis.
There are about 400-500 Bangladeshi students in Wuhan, according to the foreign ministry here.
Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, is at the centre of the outbreak. and is currently in lockdown and China has imposed travel bans on a number of other cities.
Meanwhile, voluntary organisation Joyjatra Foundation and Joyjatra Television have launched an awareness campaign on coronovirus, urging people to use musk.
Helena Jahangir, chairman of the Foundation, told this correspondent that as per the directive of the Health Ministry her volunteers have started distribution of musk among passengers at the country’s all airports.
Musks are also being distributed among other people in the country, she said. (UNI)