The government has decided to operate special flights of national flag-carrier Biman to five countries, including four in the Middle East with high concentration of Bangladeshi expat workers from April 17.
As disclosed by Tahera Khandaker, deputy general manager (public relations) of Biman on Thursday, these special flights can be availed to fly to three cities in Saudi Arabia (Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah), two of the United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), Oman's Muscat, and Qatar's Doha in the ME, as well as the city-state Singapore.
"The passengers who have made reservations for scheduled flights, set to operate after 6am Saturday, are requested to be at the airport with Covid-19 negative certificates six hours before the departure time," she said.
The government suspended the operation of all domestic and international passenger flights to restrict the spread of Covid-19 in the country for the duration of the 'all-out lockdown' that came into effect on April 14.
However, the special flight services will allow overseas workers currently stuck in Bangladesh for whatever reason to return to their places of work amid the suspension of regular flights.
"Special flights will be arranged for the overseas workers who have got stuck in the country following the government's strict lockdown. Bangladeshis who work in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Qatar and Singapore can leave the country under the special arrangements," Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad told UNB on Wednesday.
"The five countries are still open for Bangladesh as there is no problem in those countries," he said.
The minister also said, "The recruiting agencies concerned are responsible for bringing the overseas workers with Covid-19 negative certificates to the airport and they'll have to follow health guidelines as well."
Answering a query about how many workers have got stuck, the minister said: "It's difficult to say about the exact number but it might be 25000-30,000 as the recruiting agencies claim."