242 Bangladeshis stranded in US to return home Sunday

A special flight carrying 242 Bangladesh citizens stranded in the United States amid coronavirus pandemic is scheduled to arrive Dhaka early Sunday, reports UNB.

The flight departed for Bangladesh from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) Friday night.

Bangladesh ambassador to the USA Mohammad Ziauddin saw off the passengers and wished their safe journey. Embassy officials were present on the occasion.

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The sophisticated chartered A 350-900 airbus of Qatar Airways took off at 11:04pm from Dulles International Airport.

After one-hour technical stopover at Doha airport, the flight is scheduled to land at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 4:00am on Sunday, said the Bangladesh embassy in Washington DC.

The travelling passengers include mostly Bangladeshi students studying in different colleges and universities in the US, Bangladesh citizens who came to America on tourist and business visa and some government and non-government officials.

The passengers also include 49 school and college students who came to the US under Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) programme.

On Thursday, assistant secretary of the US Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Marie Royce had telephone conversation with ambassador Mohammad Ziauddin and discussed repatriation of Bangladeshi students who were in the USA under the ECA programme.

During the conversation, Royce appreciated the government of Bangladesh and the ambassador for arranging a special flight to repatriate stranded Bangladeshis in the US including the ECA students, says the news agency.

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She stressed safe and quick return of the repatriated students to their respective homes.

On arrival at Dhaka airport, the passengers will have to submit health declaration forms to the Bangladesh Immigration officials.

Bangladesh embassy in Washington DC gave the forms to the Qatar airways for distribution among the passengers.

All traveling passengers got COVID-19 symptom-free medical certificates.

The embassy helped those passengers who could not arrange the medical certificates in cooperation with a pool of Bangladeshi doctors here.

On 4 May, the foreign affairs ministry chartered the flight of Qatar Airlines to bring home the stranded Bangladeshis.

Oryx Aviation Ltd., general sales agent in Bangladesh for Qatar Airways Cargo Flight, handled the chartering and ticketing formalities for this special flight.

Earlier on 30 March, the Bangladesh embassy in Washington DC and the two consulates general in New York and Los Angeles, on an advice of the foreign ministry, issued a notice on their websites seeking information from the Bangladeshis who had been stranded in the USA amid COVID-19 pandemic.

From 30 March to 30 April, a large number of stranded Bangladesh citizens provided their information by email to the Bangladesh missions showing interest to return home by special flight at their own expenses.