Fining is fine but certificates a must

18 December, 2020 12:00 AM printer

The Civil Aviation authorities issued an order on December 13 that all passengers on Dhaka-bound flights must have Covid-19 negative certificates. This order followed a Maldivian airlines flight bringing 128 passengers on December 11 without any Covid-19 clearance certificates. The airline was fined to discourage carrying any passengers without certificates.

Subsequently three Saudia flights were fined for bringing 516 Bangladeshi deportees from Saudi Arabia without the much needed certificates. In fact, we feel that the Bangladesh government should lodge a strict complaint to the Saudi authorities for allowing people to board their aircrafts without required certificates, especially for Dhaka-bound flights.

It is commendable that the Civil Aviation authorities are trying to maintain the rules set by them and fining the violators. But the marked disregard for Bangladesh by the foreign airlines who continue to flaunt the rules prevalent in most airports of the developed world in the current pandemic situation must be addressed more strictly to command international respect for the country.

Many countries of the world will not allow any passenger to alight on their soil without showing the certificates. Many Bangladeshis desperately test for the negative certificate before their flights abroad, as the destination countries would not allow them to enter without any clearance papers. Therefore, for the overall safety of our teeming millions we too must return any passenger from abroad, whosoever they may be, if they cannot show necessary certificate.

Others will respect us only when we respect ourselves. Fining the airlines has been a good attempt at deterrence, but allowing people without certificates to enter the country is jeopardising the health and well-being of our entire population, which we can ill afford considering the ongoing second wave of the pandemic. 

We must not compromise on health safety measures under the present dire pandemic situation. Prevention is not only better but it is also eventually much less costly than the treatment of patients for any country of the world. As the cure for the disease is still a distant dream, therefore, being cautious about health-screening all the people coming from abroad must be strictly maintained in order to gain international repute and respect.