World Health Organization earlier this week declared Europe as the new COVID-19 epicenter
Bangladesh has extended the deadline of a ban on entry of Europeans and people from several other coronovirus-hit countries excluding those who would be travelling from Britain for 12 more hours until midday today, officials said.
"The deadline has been extended to evade a chaotic situation as several Bangladesh-bound aircrafts are still on the sky," Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary M Mohibul Haque told BSS yesterday evening.
He added if the ban was enforced from 12 midnight yesterday for next 16 days as decided overnight, it would have exposed the Bangladesh-bound aircrafts on the sky to a state of wilderness, a situation that prompted "us to re-fix the deadline".
Haque said the country's Civil Aviation Authority (CAAB) directed all airlines not to carry any passengers to Bangladesh from Europe except those from the United Kingdom from Monday 12 pm to March 31.
The revised announcement came some 24 hours after Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told media that Dhaka decided to enforce the ban from 12 midnight Sunday.
The decision was taken late yesterday at an inter-ministerial meeting while Momen announced the ban after obtaining Prime Minister Shekh Hasina's endorsement.
The ban is meant for Bangladesh-bound travellers from all European countries except the UK and other nations which restricted Bangladeshis entry to their territories over the coronavirus, which of late is being described as COVID 19.
The countries which shut down their doors for Bangladeshis include India, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.
"We will reciprocate their decision in an identical manner . . . but the ban will be imposed both for foreigners and Bangladesh nationals," Momen told BSS yesterday evening.
He, however, said even people intending to come to Bangladesh from UK must ensure that they did not visit any severely coronavirus-hit countries in the last 28 days.
World Health Organization earlier this week declared Europe as the new COVID-19 epicenter.
CAAB Chairman Air Vice Marshal M Mafidur Rahman earlier yesterday evening said airlines which would carry European passengers to Bangladesh after the ban deadline, would have to bring them back in their own cost.
He said, by now, CAAB was exposed to a huge financial loss due to the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, estimated to be Taka 35 to 37 lakh everyday, and feared the ban to increase the amount.