Bangladesh suspends flights to Europe over coronavirus
2 new cases reported had travel history to Germany and Italy, says health minister
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan/ DHAKA, Bangladesh
Bangladesh on Saturday suspended flights to all European countries except the U.K. after two more citizens tested positive for coronavirus after returning from Italy and Germany.
“Those two citizens returning from Italy and Germany tested positive for coronavirus,” said Health Minister Zahid Maleque at a news conference in the capital Dhaka.
They have been hospitalized.
Also speaking, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said Bangladesh will suspend flights to all European and other countries hit by coronavirus until March 31.
The decision will be effective Sunday midnight with the U.K. being the only exception, he said.
He added that on-arrival visa facility will be suspended.
“We had been providing on-arrival visas for the citizens of some countries including India. But due to the prevailing outbreak of the new virus this service will be stopped for next two weeks,” Momen said.
Bangladesh has confirmed five cases of coronavirus so far.
Giving their details, the health minister said two previous cases also had a travel history to coronavirus-hit countries and they passed on the virus to a third person in Bangladesh.
All three patients have since recovered and returned home after completing a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
He added that 184 Bangladeshi citizens returned, mostly from Italy, on Saturday evening and they were kept in isolation.
“Tomorrow [Sunday] another 150 Bangladeshis will return home,” the health minister said, adding they will be kept in self-isolation for two weeks.
Pakistan confirms 4 new cases
Pakistan on Saturday confirmed four new coronavirus cases, raising the tally to 33.
Prime Minister Imran Khan advised the nation not to panic, saying that he is personally overseeing all measures to curb the outbreak.
"We are alert to the dangers & have put in place sufficient protocols for the safety and health of our people. The WHO has commended our efforts as being amongst the best in the world," Khan tweeted.
Meanwhile, leaders of South Asian countries will hold a meeting via video conference to frame a joint strategy to fight the coronavirus.
"Tomorrow at 5 PM, leaders of SAARC nations will discuss via conferencing, a roadmap to fight the challenge of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted
After emerging in China last December, the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to over 135 countries and territories.
The global death toll from the virus has crossed 5,300 with more than 142,000 cases confirmed worldwide, according to World Health Organization, which has termed Europe as the new epicenter of the virus.
A vast majority of those who get infected recover from the illness.
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