by Staff Correspondent in Dhaka;
Authorities in Bangladesh have decided to impose a ban on operations of all international passenger flights from Wednesday to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, officials said on Sunday.
The suspension will coincide with yet another lockdown to be imposed across Bangladesh as a nine-day shutdown ends on Tuesday.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh in a notification said all international passenger flights to and from Bangladesh will remain suspended from April 14 to April 20.
“Medevac (medical evacuation), humanitarian/relief, cargo, Technical Landing (for refueling only,) and the flights cleared under the special consideration shall remain under the purview of this suspension,” reads the notification.
Chief of the CAAB Air Vice Marshal M Mafidur Rahman said more than 500 flights will be cancelled because of the ban.
Bangladeshi airports have now been operating an average of 70 to 75 flights per day, he added.
A surge in the Covid-19 cases since March prompted the government to enforce a nine-day nationwide shutdown until Tuesday.
The authorities imposed a ban on air passengers from Europe and 12 other countries on April 3. Passenger flight operations on all domestic routes have been suspended since April 5.
Bangladesh, which reported its first cases of the novel coronavirus last March, reported its highest single-day increase in infections on Friday, with 7,462 cases.
So far, the country has reported some 684,756 cases and 9,739 deaths.
Bangladesh previously imposed a nationwide shutdown for more than two months, from March 26, 2020 until May.