Sunday, 26 September, 2021

RT PCR lab to be set up at int’l airports

Inter-ministerial meeting Wednesday

The government is going to set up RT PCR labs at the international airports to meet the preconditions of some countries for conducting corona test of outbound passengers six hours before their departure.

The Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment has convened a high-level inter-ministerial virtual meeting on Wednesday to finalise the proposal for setting up RT PCR labs at airports, an official said.

Ministers and secretaries of different ministries, including expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry, health and family welfare ministry, civil aviation and tourism ministry, foreign ministry and home ministry, and director generals of various departments will attend the meeting. Minister for Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Imran Ahmed chaired the meeting.

“We are to ensure welfare of our expatriate workers. Any of their problems is our problem. We look at every issue of our expatriate workers, particularly those in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with utmost importance. The UAE is a vital destination for our workers. We don’t want to see any UAE-bound workers facing any hassle while entering the Gulf state,” said Dr Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, Secretary of the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment.

While speaking about the proposals placed by different private organisations to set up RT PCR lab at airports, he said, “We can’t make a decision alone in this regard. There are some organizations who have already got permission from the health ministry to conduct RT PCR test. We can accommodate them and scrutinise any other new proposals.”

“We have to keep the responsible organisations in an area adjacent to an airport as they have to collect samples from three to four hundred passengers of a flight and provide reports in time,” he added.

“Corona test has to be made cost effective as a worker has to face a regular RT PCR test before the test  conducted six hours prior to departure,” the secretary said, adding that the ministry will help them in this regard and ensure that no workers need to pay fees more than the amount paid for the first test.

He also said they will try to begin the process for setting up RT PCR labs at airports as soon as possible though, according to a source at the ministry concerned, it will take about a month for the job.

Talking to the Daily Sun, Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) chairman Air Vice-Marshal M Mafidur Rahman said, “It is not possible to set up RT PCR lab inside the airport as we have scarcity of space. Besides, we have to consider the security issue as well.”

Earlier, Director General of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Professor Dr ABM Khurshid Alam said that they have to buy new RT PCR machine if the government wants to set up RT PCR labs at airports under its own management.

It is mentionable that the civil aviation authority of the UAE issued a notification, saying that travellers to the Gulf state have to undergo a rapid PCR test six hours before their departure.

The UAE is allowing passengers from six South Asian countries, including India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Bangladeshi passengers are expected to be allowed to enter the country soon.