A total of 272 Bangladeshi migrant workers were repatriated from Lebanon today amid a ban on arrivals from the middle-eastern country due to the rapid surge in Coronavirus infections.
Except two, the remaining 270 workers were sent to institutional quarantine for 14 days in the city’s Ashkona Hajj Camp, Dr Shahriar Sazzad, in-charge of the health desk at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, told The Daily Star.The government will bear the cost of the workers during their 14-day stay in quarantine, Dr Sazzad told this correspondentOf the two who were not sent to quarantine, Dr Sazzad said one was an ailing, aged worker who was admitted to a city hospital. Another was a pregnant worker and she was allowed to quarantine at home on humanitarian grounds, added Dr Sazzad.At first, most of the workers refused to go into institutional quarantine and staged demonstrations at the airport. Relatives of many of the workers also joined the demonstration, sources at the HSIA, said.”But following discussions with respective officials, they finally agreed to go to the Hajj Camp…,” Dr Sazzad said.Sources at the airport said a special chartered flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying the workers was supposed to come to Bangladesh on April 1.”But as the flight came amid a ban on coming of any passengers from Lebanon and due to lack of coordination among the respective authorities, it was first refused permission to land at the airport,” an official at the HSIA said wishing anonymity.Following interference by the foreign ministry, the flight landed at the HSIA at around 3:30am on Monday, said the source.The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) on April 1 announced that passengers from European countries, except the UK, and 12 other countries will not be allowed to enter Bangladesh from April 3 and the ban will be in place till April 18 due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.According to sources at the Bangladesh embassy in Lebanon, special permission was taken from CAAB for operating the flight due to the ban. The embassy also said the respective authorities of Bangladesh didn’t inform them about the mandatory institutional quarantine.