Italy has sent back 165 Bangladeshis who arrived in the country on two Qatar Airways flights without allowing them to disembark from the aircraft amid the scandal over fake coronavirus certificates.
Authorities of Rome's Fiumicino Airport refused entry to 125 Bangladeshi passengers on July 8 due to fears of COVID-19, reports Italian news agency ANSA.
The Bangladeshi passengers aboard the plane, which arrived in the Italian capital via Qatar, were later sent back to Doha on the same plane, said Fiumicino airport authorities.
The other passengers on the plane were tested for the coronavirus and instructed to go into self-isolation on leaving the airport.
Italian newspaper La Repubblica reports that these include 93 passengers of various nationalities, including 15 Italians.
A similar situation reportedly occurred on the same day in Milan's Malpensa Airport where 40 Bangladeshi passengers arrived from Doha only to be sent back on the same plane several hours later.
It came after 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.
During the suspension, the government will work on new precautionary measures for all arrivals from outside the European Union and the Schengen area, the ministry said in a statement.
Last week the Lazio region around Rome urged all the local Bangladeshi community to test for the coronavirus after clusters of recent cases.
Italian health authorities are now attempting to trace an estimated 500-600 Bangladesh citizens who arrived in the country in recent days over fears that they may be carrying the coronavirus, reports bdnews24.com.