The Japanese government has evacuated 327 of its nationals from Dhaka when regular air connectivity has remained almost suspended amid countrywide shutdown enforced to check coronavirus spread.
These people, who were stranded in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, left for Tokyo on Thursday morning in a special chartered flight of the Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
A spokesperson of the Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh (CAAB) told the media that Biman's Boeing 777 aircraft, carrying 327 Japanese citizens including one infant, left the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 10.19 am for the Narita Airport of Japan.
Apart from the Japanese passengers, the flight included Biman's 18 crew members and five ground staff. The Japanese Embassy here chartered the Biman flight through the Bangladesh government, said Biman sources.
Meanwhile, the United States of America is trying to charter more flights to evacuate its citizens currently stranded in Bangladesh. The Embassy of Germany in Dhaka has also contacted Biman to arrange a charter flight to send German citizens back home.
Embassy sources have confirmed the matter to The Business Standard.
On Monday, 269 US citizens left Bangladesh by a special chartered flight of the Qatar Airways, while on March 26, around 354 Malaysian and Bhutanese citizens left the capital on three flights.
Of them, two Drukair flights carried 124 Bhutanese nationals, while around 230 Malaysians took a Malaysia Airlines flight.
Most of these returnees were students, businesspeople, and employees of aid agencies. They left Bangladesh through chartered flights on their personal choice amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The US Embassy in Dhaka informed its citizens that it continues to work with the Department of State and the Government of Bangladesh to charter another flight for US citizens and their families.
It will announce the next flight when details are confirmed. The embassy also instructed nationals who sought the embassy's assistance in returning to the United States to fill out an online questionnaire immediately.
The German Embassy in Dhaka advised all German nationals residing in Bangladesh to leave the country as quickly as possible on March 22. Their instruction remains the same till now, and they are trying to evacuate stranded German citizens here.
The UK discouraged its citizens from unnecessary travel and advised those living overseas to return during the third week of March.
The British High Commission in Dhaka instructed UK nationals in Bangladesh, who want to return home, should contact their travel agents to schedule flights. They informed that suspended UK flights of Biman Bangladesh Airlines might resume on April 7.
The Indian High Commission in Bangladesh also called on Indian nationals living in Bangladesh not to panic over the coronavirus situation.
Earlier, the Bangladesh government briefed foreign envoys that it would allow foreign nationals living in Bangladesh to leave the country on chartered flights, as commercial flights have been suspended to tackle the global Covid-19 pandemic.