Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has said it is not possible right now to bring back Bangladeshi citizens stuck in the Wuhan city of China, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak, as Chinese authorities are not allowing any international flight there.
"The government wanted to bring the Bangladeshis from Wuhan back through a chartered flight when they expressed their willingness to return home. But now chartered flights are not being allowed by the Chinese authorities," he said.
While talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in the city on Saturday, the minister also said China does not want the spread of this virus as this is very sensitive.
At present, around 171 Bangladeshi nationals are staying in Wuhan and they expressed their willingness to return home, he said, adding that the government also wants to bring them back.
Momen, however, said if the Bangladeshi nationals can manage any chartered flight to return home, the government will bear the cost.
He also dismissed the allegation that the stranded Bangladeshis are facing a food crisis, saying the Chinese authorities, led by a deputy leader of ruling Chinese Communist Party, are taking care of them.
The minister said Bangladeshi pilots are also not willing to travel to Wuhan as other countries are not allowing their entry to those with their flights after their return from the Chinese city.
Earlier, about 312 Bangladeshi nationals were brought back home from Wuhan on a special flight by spending some $130,000, he said.
All the returnees have been kept at the quarantine centre for 14 days although no-one of them was found to have infected with coronavirus, Momen said.
But after their return, the crewmembers are facing troubles as no country is willing to receive them as pilots to operate their flights, he added.