Sunday, 17 October, 2021

Covid testing continues at HSIA

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 1 October, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news

The six RT-PCR labs set up at Hazrat Shahjalal Inter-national Airport (HSIA) have begun carrying out Covid-19 test in full swing for passengers bound to United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Many outbound passengers intending to travel to the Gulf state said that they were passing days in frustration until the UAE approved the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of six companies on Wednesday afternoon.

“I came to the county on leave in April this year but could not return to my workplace due to suspension of flight operations between Bangladesh and UAE. Validity of my visa will end on October 10,” said Abu Jafar Obaidullah, a UAE-bound passenger hailing from Cumilla’s Chandina upazilla.

“I have bought a ticket for a flight that is scheduled to leave Dhaka airport for Dubai at 7 pm tonight. Thanks to Allah the flights have resumed finally,” He added.

At least five Emirates flights carrying 122 passengers left HSIA for Dubai International Airport till 11:00 am on Thursday. Three more flights were scheduled to leave Dhaka for the oil-rich Middle Eastern country on Thursday night.

According to sources, passengers of the first flight of the day, which was scheduled to leave Dhaka at 7:00 pm, entered the airport at 12:00 pm and went through a coronavirus test at the RT-PCR labs set up at HSIA.

The second flight bound to the UAE is scheduled to fly from the Dhaka airport at 2:15 am on Friday. Passengers of the flight were asked to enter the airport before 6:00 pm. The passengers entered the airport and were undergoing corona tests at the time of filing this report.

On May 13 this year, the UAE suspended entry for passengers from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, who, along with Indians, comprise 70 percent of the workforce in the country.

The UAE had made it mandatory for the passengers bound to the Gulf State to face a RT-PCR test for coronavirus six hours before departure last August. Since then the outbound workers were staging demonstrations and submitting memorandums demanding the setting up of RT-PCR laboratories in the country’s international airports.

Consequently, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina instructed the authorities concerned to ensure RT-PCR test facilities at the international airports of the country at a cabinet meeting on September 6.

The Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment on September 15 approved seven private companies to set up RT-PCR labs at HSIA following the recommendation made a high-level technical committee and asked the companies to submit SOPs.

Six among the seven companies submitted their SOPs which were sent to the UAE for approval.