Italy sent back to Dhaka 165 of the 180 Bangladeshis who reached Rome and Milan airports on Qatar Airways flights Wednesday morning with apprehension that a good number of them might carry the novel coronavirus.
The Italian authorities, however, allowed 15 of the Bangladeshis to enter the country as 14 of them were holding Italian passports and the other, a pregnant woman, on humanitarian ground, Bangladesh consul general in Milan Iqbal Ahmed told New Age over phone.
Diplomatic sources said that 140 Bangladeshis reached Rome airport and 40 reached Milan airport on two Qatar Airways flights Wednesday morning. The Italian authorities declined to allow them to get down claiming that they flew from Dhaka violating the restrictions on travel from Bangladesh to Italy.
The Italian authorities asked the Qatar Airways to carry back the 180 in the next immediate return flights, report Italian newspapers.
The local authorities, however, allowed the other passengers of Doha-Rome and Doha-Milan routes to have swab tests to eventually allow them to enter the cities on condition of staying at quarantine, if necessary.
The Bangladesh missions in Rome and Milan had, however, requested the Italian authorities to allow valid Bangladeshi passengers to get down at the airports on conditions of abiding by safety protocols, Iqbal Ahmed said.
The Italian government on Tuesday ordered the suspension of flights from Bangladesh after a spate of coronavirus cases within the community that authorities worry could expand, according to Agence France-Presse.
On Monday, the Lazio region surrounding Rome issued a special decree calling for passengers from Dhaka to be given virus tests upon their arrival at Rome’s Fiumicino airport.
Of the 225 arriving Dhaka passengers on Monday, 21 tested positive for the disease, Lazio’s top health official Alessio D’Amato said on Tuesday.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Foreign affairs