Italy on Tuesday suspended all incoming flights from Bangladesh after a spike in new coronavirus cases among the Bangladeshi immigrant community in Rome.
Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced this development in a statement in Rome.
Speranza said that the decision was taken after a high number of positive cases were found among the 225 passengers who landed in Rome from Dhaka on Monday.
The Health Commissioner for Lazio, the region including Rome, separately said that 21 out of the 225 had so far been confirmed positive, adding that not all results were in.
The incoming plane was “a real viral ‘bomb’ that we have defused” with a Monday decision to test all the passengers, the commissioner, Alessio D’Amato, said on Facebook.
All the people who came in from Dhaka, including those who tested negative, will be quarantined for two weeks. Italy applies such rules to all arrivals from outside the European Schengen area.
Speranza said the ban on flights from Bangladesh would last one week. Meanwhile, the government will work on tighter rules for arrivals from outside the Schengen zone, he added.
In Rome, local health authorities have asked members of the Bangladeshi community to get tested if they returned from their home country after June 1.
In Italy, the novel coronavirus epidemic is well past its critical phase, but there are fears that various new clusters could trigger a second wave of infections.
The Lazio region reported 19 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, including 12 among Bangladeshi nationals living in Rome.