Dhaka – Bangladesh could not make any headway until Wednesday to bring back is citizens from China despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals were being evacuated from Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, as more deaths are reported.
Bangladeshi foreign ministry said on Tuesday that a plane was ready to bring 500 students stranded in Wuhan who earlier appealed to return home. Foreign Minister Abul Kalam Abdul Momen told reporters that the students would not be able to return home before the end of the minimum two week quarantine period.
Japan, the United State and the European Union are repatriating their citizens while Australian planned to quarantine its 600 evacuees on Christmas island 2,000km from the mainland.
According to BBC, British Airways has suspended all flights to and from mainland China, as the British government warned against “all but essential travel” there.
Chinese President Xi Jinping called the virus a “devil” but said China would defeat it. The outbreak of the virus killed more than 130 people and infected thousands others in China,
Like the similar Sars and influenza viruses, the new coronavirus is a particular risk for elderly people and those with pre-existing illnesses.
The virus is thought to have emerged from illegally traded wildlife at a seafood market in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. It causes severe acute respiratory infection and there is no specific cure or vaccine. A number of people, however, have recovered after treatment, according to the broadcaster.
On evacuation side, New Zealand says it will cooperate with Canberra to bring its 53 citizens home alongside the Australian evacuees.
Two hundred and 40 US nationals left the city of Wuhan on Wednesday. CNN broadcaster reported that the evacuees might have to stay in isolation in an airport hangar for up to two weeks.
The UK has been arranging evacuation of some 200 British people who wanted to leave the area. But some UK citizens have criticised the government, claiming lack of support in returning home.
Separately, two aircraft to fly EU citizens home were scheduled, with 250 French nationals leaving on the first flight.
South Korea said some 700 of its citizens would leave on four flights this week. Both Malaysia and the Philippines also said they would evacuate their citizens in and around Wuhan.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong announced plans to slash cross-border travel between the city and mainland China.
Wuhan – as well as the wider Hubei province – is already effectively in a lockdown with strict transport restrictions.