Pre-departure Covid test to start today
Expatriates' Welfare Minister Imran Ahmad yesterday said people will be able to fly to the United Arab Emirates from today if there are flights.
Six healthcare organisations would finish setting up PCR labs at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport by the morning today, he told reporters after visiting the airport.
He said different airlines had stopped registering bookings for people travelling to Dubai and Abu Dhabi due to the absence of PCR test facilities.
Several thousand people, who came home on vacation from their workplaces in the UAE, have been desperately waiting to fly back to the Gulf country which last month made it mandatory for foreigners entering the country to get tested for coronavirus at a PCR lab no more than six hours before the flight.
The expatriates have since been demanding the test facilities be set up at international airports.
Many expatriates feared that failure to reach their workplaces on time might cost them their jobs. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on September 6 ordered that PCR labs be set up at the country's three international airports in Dhaka, Chattogram and Sylhet in two to three days.
On September 15, the expatriates' welfare ministry announced that on the basis of the recommendations made by the health directorate, they have given permission to seven healthcare organisations to set up labs at the HSIA. one of the six organisations later withdrew from the initiative.
Minister Imran yesterday said since the labs will be operated simultaneously at the airport, the rush of travellers will be handled well.
If the labs prove to be inadequate, the next course of action will be decided.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Thursday reportedly said the six labs will have 12 booths, allowing 3,500 to 4,000 individuals to get tested for Covid-19.
These facilities will be able to conduct both the rapid PCR and the regular test. On Wednesday night, 46 Bangladeshi expatriate workers flew to the UAE after their Covid-19 tests at an RT-PCR lab at the HSIA.