Over one hundred people intending to go to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) staged a hunger strike in the capital on Tuesday morning demanding that RT-PCR lab be set up at international airports.
Blocking the entrance of stairs and lift of Probashi Kallyan Bhaban, they chanted different slogans and demanded that the instructions to establish RT-PCR lab given by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina eight days ago in a cabinet meeting are carried out immediately.
Moazzem Hossain, a resident of the capital’s Rampura who took part in the programme, said that he has been working in Dubai for 11 years. His employer is repeatedly asking him to return to work but he is not able to go as there is no RT-PCR laboratory at any airport in the country.
“I came to my country eight months ago on leave. I have to go to Dubai on an emergency basis. According to the rules of the UAE government, I have to do RT-PCR test at the airport six hours before I start my journey. But none of our airports have this facility,” he said.
Earlier in the morning, the protesters submitted a memorandum at the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) in Mohakhali.
Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed spoke to UAE-bound passengers in the afternoon and assured them that a PCR lab would be set up at the airport soon.
The UAE government on August 4 imposed a condition for workers from Bangladesh and other countries that they must undergo two RT-PCR tests, one before 48 hours and another before six hours of departure, and carry negative coronavirus test certificate with them.