Italy bans arrivals from Bangladesh until Oct 5 amid coronavirus clearance scandal

Italy has banned arrivals from Bangladesh until Oct 5 amid the scandal over fake coronavirus certificates.

Published : 9 July 2020, 07:47 PM
Updated : 9 July 2020, 08:43 PM

Passengers are not allowed to travel to Italy from Bangladesh irrespective of any nationality and transit where the flight originates from Bangladesh, according to a notice issued on Thursday.

The Italian authorities took the decision “taking into account the actual health risk that the ongoing pandemic entails”.

Italy suspended all flights from Bangladesh for one week due to a "significant number" of passengers who tested positive to the coronavirus on a flight to Rome on July 7.

On Wednesday, Italy sent back 165 Bangladeshis who arrived in the country on two Qatar Airways flights without allowing them to disembark from the aircraft

“Upon request of the Italian Health Ministry, all flights/passengers from Bangladesh with final destination to ITALY are forbidden,” Qatar Airways said in a statement on Thursday.

Last week, the Lazio region around Rome urged all members of the local Bangladeshi community to test for COVID-19 after finding clusters of recent cases among them.

The Italian health authorities also launched efforts to trace an estimated 500 to 600 Bangladesh citizens who arrived in the European country in recent days over fears that they may be

carrying the virus.

Italy also banned entry to people coming from 12 other countries due to their excessive rate of COVID-19 infections.

Besides Bangladesh, the list compiled by the health ministry comprises Armenia, Bahrain, Brazil, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Kuwait, North Macedonia, Moldova, Oman, Panama, Peru and Dominican Republic.

The ban affects anyone who has stayed in or travelled through these countries in the last 14 days, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said in a statement.

Travellers from all other countries outside the European Union and the Schengen free movement area can come to Italy but must observe 14 days of quarantine on arrival.

"Around the world the pandemic is in its most acute phase. We cannot waste the sacrifices the Italians have made in recent months," Speranza said.

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus after its outbreak first emerged on Feb 21.

It has recorded almost 35,000 deaths but the daily tally of fatalities and new infections have dwindled to a fraction of those seen at the peak of its epidemic in late March.

On Thursday the Civil Protection Agency reported 12 deaths over the last 24 hours, down from 15 the previous day, while new cases increased to 229 from 193.

Bangladesh recorded its first three cases on Mar 8. Two were returnees from Italy and the other a relative of one of the returnees.

The government confirmed 3,360 new infections in 24 hours on Thursday, raising the caseload to 175,494.

The death toll from COVID-19 surged by 41 to 2,238 in this period.

[With inputs from Reuters]