Bangladesh fourth country in S Asia to start RT-PCR Covid-19 tests at airports
The much-anticipated RT-PCR labs to conduct Covid-19 tests for outbound passengers will start full-scale operation at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Tuesday.
Air Vice Marshal M Mafidur Rahman, chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB), made the announcement at a press conference on Sunday.
The testing activities began on a trial basis on Sunday morning.
The United Arab Emirates has imposed a condition that passengers travelling to the Gulf country will have to be tested for Covid-19 at the airport 48 hours and 6 hours before departure, said the CAAB chairman.
“If the test run is successful, we will inform the airline authorities … We need 48 hours for this, and we hope that the labs will start full-scale operation from September 28,” UNB quoted Mafidur as saying.
The CAAB official said that it is Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s directive that expatriates and other outgoing passengers are helped in reaching their respective destinations on time.
“Acting on that directive, we have already sent 46 expatriates [to the UAE] on a trial basis,” he added.
Bangladesh is the fourth country in South Asia to start RT-PCR Covid-19 tests at airports.
The return of around 50,000 expatriate workers to the UAE became uncertain in early August after the country made it mandatory for passengers to carry Covid-19 negative certificates from RT-PCR tests done within six hours before departure.
India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have already set up rapid RT-PCR testing facilities at their airports. After the setting up of the labs, the UAE lifted its travel ban on these countries.
A total of 12 testing machines will be set up at six labs at Dhaka airport. At least 3,500-4,000 passengers will be able to get themselves tested for Covid-19 at these facilities.
The Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment has fixed the test fees at Tk1,700-2,300. The price depends on the facilitating lab.