157 stranded Bangladeshis return from Australia
A group of 157 Bangladeshi citizens, who got stranded in Australia amid the coronavirus outbreak, returned home from Melbourne early Saturday. A special Sri Lankan Airlines flight carrying them landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport around 1am after a stopover at Colombo. The Bangladesh High Commission in Canberra facilitated the return of the Bangladeshis with support from authorities of Bangladesh and Australia and with active cooperation from the Victorian Bangladeshi Community Foundation (VBCF) and Melton Travel Center who were assigned to coordinate with intending passengers and manage funds and ticketing tasks, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Initially at its “needs assessment” template on its website, the High Commission received requests of 340 angladesh-origin persons in Australia who expressed willingness to return to Bangladesh. Based on this estimate of 300 plus stranded Bangladeshis seeking to return, the High Commission secured in principle approval of Bangladesh authorities to accept special non-scheduled flight from Australia and tried to charter a flight from Sydney to Dhaka.
Drastic reduction in demand from the stranded Bangladeshis compelled the High Commission to charter Sri Lankan Airlines to operate this flight from Melbourne. All passengers were notified to carry up-to-date COVID symptom-free or COVID negative certificate issued within three days before departure.