Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming on Monday said some technical issues were obstructing the return of remaining registered Bangladeshis from Hubei province, the epicentre of a new virus outbreak.
Bangladesh brought back 312 of its nationals from China on February 1 and the remaining Bangladeshis registered to return home.
“I think permission is not a problem [but], the problem is some technical difficulties,” Jiming said while responding to a UNB question at DCAB Talk at the Jatiya Press Club.
He said the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry had asked him to seek the opportunity to send them back.
“I think Bangladesh government is very responsible and the government is taking care of Bangladeshis. Permission (take back the Bangladeshis) can be issued from the Chinese side. It won’t be a problem,” he said but pointed out that there was no carrier.
“Bangladesh Airlines refuse to travel to China to bring back the Bangladeshis because if they do so, they’ll be banned by other countries. They’ll have to stop their business,” the Ambassador noted.
He said China is also trying to offer some other alternatives, for example, some commercial flights and so on.
Responding to another question, Ambassador Jiming cited some examples how people got infected outside China and said he would rather advise and consider not to let them come back because there is a risk for this country, not only for themselves (travellers) during the travel, to bring virus to this society.
“We should try our best to stop such possibilities and minimize the risk. Personally I don’t suggest, I don’t recommend (bringing them back). That’s my advice,” said the Chinese Ambassador.
Talking to UNB, a senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here said a total of 198 students are willing to return home now from Hubei province.
Of them, 164 students are from Yichang, 10 from Shiyan, nine from Jingmen, 10 from Wuhan and five from Jinghou, he said referring to communication with the Bangladesh Embassy in Beijing.
The government is “actively considering and exploring” the option of chartering a special flight, another official told UNB.
Once the government decides to charter a flight it generally bears the cost, he said.
On Sunday, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said the government is exploring options to bring back Bangladeshis from Hubei province but noted that it depended on the China’s permission.
"We have a list of 171. We’re now thinking how we can arrange to bring them back who’re willing to come [back]. We don’t know when. It doesn’t depend on us. It depends on China's permission. There’s a complete shutdown (Hubei province),” Dr Momen told reporters.
Dr Momen said China has been very helpful to Bangladesh throughout the process and recalled Chinese government’s support in bringing back 312 Bangladesh nationals from Wuhan city.
He said the Bangladeshis returned home after 14 days of quarantine.
A viral outbreak that began in China has infected more than 71,000 people globally and killed over 1,770 people.
Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) arranged the interaction – DCAB Talk - with the Chinese Ambassador.
DCAB President Angur Nahar Monty and General Secretary Touhidur Rahman also spoke at the event.