The government is planning to set up rapid PCR labs at Shah Amanat International Airport in Chattogram and Osmani International Airport in Sylhet so that the outbound workers can go to their workplaces smoothly.
Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed told this while talking to Daily Sun on Friday.
He also requested in the letter to have rapid PCR machines so that the outbound workers do not miss flight due to delay in preparing corona test results, he said.
The minister said they prioritised Dhaka to begin PCR test as the flights were being operated from here.
“Flights have not started yet from Chattogram. The fact is that the airlines are not able to start flight operation due to lack of test facilities,” he said.
The minister expected that if the test is arranged at Chattogram and Sylhet airports, the flight from there will start automatically and in that case passengers do not have to spend money to come to Dhaka from those areas.
Imran Ahmed also said that compensation will be provided if an expatriate worker misses flight due to delay in preparing PCR test result at the airport. “In that case, all steps, including the re-issuance of the ticket of the person who missed the flight and arranging accommodation and travel at the hotel, needs to be taken,” the minister said.
“A meeting was held on Wednesday in this regard. What if the test defaults... our poor people will die. If someone’s visa expires, it will cost the worker another Tk 1.5-2 lakh. I think there needs to be a tough penalty system for that,” the minister said.
It is to be mentioned that at least 75 passengers had missed a flight of Etihad Airways bound for the UAE on Monday night as the boarding counter was closed before they got PCR test result from the labs set up at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment minister also said that the government will provide booster dose of four Saudi Arabia approved vaccines -- Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson -- to the Gulf State-bound expatriates who have already taken Sinopharm jab.
“A decision has been made to provide booster dose to Saudi-bound workers who have got stranded after taking Chinese jabs. They will get vaccines from the seven vaccination centres in Dhaka which were earlier selected to offer coronavirus vaccine to expatriate workers,” Imran Ahmed said.
“But before that we have requested the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology to ensure providing with certificates to the outbound workers,” the minister said, adding that his ministry, along with other ministries, has been trying heart and soul to ease the problems of expatriate workers.
It is estimated that a good number of Bangladeshi passengers have received Chinese vaccines without knowing about the precondition of the oil rich Middle Eastern country for taking booster dose if anyone intends to travel to the kingdom after taking Chinese jabs, which they have approved.