Eastern Times Correspondent, 30 May : Despite the travel ban because of the Covid-19 pandemic, some 4,028 Bangladeshis have returned home from India through the Benapole check-post in the past month.
Of them, 17 were infected with Covid-19.
Ahsan Habib, officer-in-charge of Benapole International Check Post Immigration, said that these 4,028 people, including 126 people who returned on Saturday, came back with NOCs from the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Kolkata between April 26 and May 29.
Meanwhile, 404 Indians have returned home from Bangladesh at the same time, he added.
Jessore’s Sharsha Upazila Health Officer Yusuf Ali said passengers returning to India were forced to stay in institutional quarantine at their own expense in line with government directives.
The returnees are being kept in quarantine at various hotels in Benapole, Jessore, Narail, Satkhira, Khulna and Kushtia and at Jhikargachha Gazirdarga Orphanage.
The ones returning to the country with Covid-19 or symptoms are being sent to the Corona Unit of Jessore Sadar Hospital, the health officer added.
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The Bangladesh government has imposed a ban on travel to and from India in three phases, from April 26, until May 31 to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and a new variant of the deadly disease.
However, only those stranded over there were returning home with NOC from the Bangladeshi Deputy High Commission in Kolkata, said Utpala Roy, the medical officer at the Benapole Check Post Immigration.
The return of these people is taking place at a time when concern among the health authorities and people of the country is rising with 20 cases of the Indian Covid-19 variant already detected in Bangladesh.
Health authorities say the infection rate is showing a notable upward trend in districts that share borders with or are close to India.
Besides Chapainawabganj, 14 other border districts with higher infection rates include Chuadanga, Naogaon, Rajshahi and Jessore.
Over the past week or so, Chapainawabganj has turned into the latest Covid-19 hotspot, leading to a strict lockdown that will be in place till Monday.
Bangladesh also has restrictions on public gathering and movement in place until June 1, which is regrettably being violated by many.
On May 8 this year, Bangladesh had confirmed the first two patients, who had visited India, infected with the Indian variant.
The authorities detected the UK variant in January but confirmed the detection in March. Confirmation regarding three other variants came in late April.