US citizens leaving on personal choice: Embassy


29th March, 2020 07:20:16 printer

US citizens leaving on personal choice: Embassy

The USA Embassy said the US citizens who are set to leave here tomorrow by a special flight, are going back home on their personal choice amid outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

“The US government is not forcing anyone to return to the US, this is a personal choice based on what they (the returnees) know of the situation and also what they are comfortable with,” a spokesperson of the US Embassy here told at a virtual media briefing.

The US state department and the US embassy in Dhaka have arranged a special chartered flight to Washington DC tomorrow for US citizens who have been stranded here due to global outbreak of coronavirus and would like to go back.

The US Embassy official said this kind of arrangement is not only taking place in Bangladesh as so far, the US State Department arranged special flights from 28 countries around the globe to bring back nearly 10,000 US citizens to the USA.

“It’s not just happening in Bangladesh. This is not unique for Bangladesh,” he said.

Saying that some diplomats and their family members are also in the passengers list for tomorrow’s special flights, he said the diplomats who are leaving are going for their personal family issues and it won’t hamper the routine work of the US Embassy here.

This is temporary measures and they will be returning to Bangladesh again once the situation improves globally, he added.

“I wanted you to know that there have been rumors … but those are not true, the US Embassy here remains open for business or normal work hours,” said another official of the embassy at the briefing.

She said that the US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl Miller is staying in Dhaka and leading the US Embassy team here.

“Our number one priority is the safety of American citizens and so, we are continuing to provide all services to all Americans anywhere they were,” she added.

The spokesperson said it will be a full flight but did not confirm the total number of passengers as well as whether they have any plan to arrange more chartered flights to the USA from Bangladesh or not.

This flight will include a Dhaka to Doha, Qatar leg and an onward connecting flight to Dulles International Airport, Washington, D.C. while passengers will remain on the airplane in Doha.

All passengers have been asked to agree to reimburse the US government for the flight by signing a promissory note for approximately the amount of a full-fare economy flight, or comparable alternate transportation, to the designated destination that would have been charged immediately prior to this crisis.

Currently, the United States has the highest number of COPVID-19 infected people with 115,547 diagnosed cases while it so far witnessed 1,891 deaths.