National, Back Page

Delay in installation of Covid test lab at Dhaka airport

Authorities’ apathy adds to expats’ woes

Published : 21 Sep 2021 10:19 PM | Updated : 22 Sep 2021 02:08 PM

Due to lack of coordination the authorities concerned has not yet been able to install the RT-PCR lab (for Covid-19 test) at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. This delay is noticed Despite prime minister’s direction.

To give the installation work a boost several ministers are inspecting the airport area where the RT-PCR lab is likely to be installed.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) has selected the roof of a multi-storied car parking building on the north side of the airport building. However, the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment said that the open roof is not suitable for setting up the lab. Later, the authorities concerned change the place and proposed it to be inside the airport building.  

On the other hand, those approved organizations will not be able to set up the RT-PCR labs until they got the final approval of the standard operating procedure (SOP) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) approval.  

As a result, the concerned authorities cannot announce the specific scheduled time when the lab will be installed at the airport.

Meanwhile, the Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed said, “The RT-PCR machine can be installed within two or three days at the airport. But presently we do not have rapid PCR machine. It must be brought from abroad which is time consuming. We are optimistic that we will be able to bring and install these machines within next eight to 10 days.” 

“Those who have been allowed to install these machines have been instructed, work should start within a week,” he added.

On 15 September, the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare selected seven non-government organizations to set up RT-PCR laboratories for corona examination at Shahjalal International Airport. Of these, six companies submitted Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). These SOPs are sent to the UAE for verification. However, the UAE authorities have not yet responded. 

The CAAB Chairman, Air Vice Marshal M Mofidur Rahman said that work on the lab would begin with the approval of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the standard operating procedure (SOP) of six companies seeking to set up RT-PCR labs at the airport. 

Regarding the coronavirus examination fee, Rahman said, “Each institution has fixed different fees. We have asked them to set a fee between the maximum and the minimum of the proposed fee.” 

Rahman also said that action would be taken if the lab failed to be set up the lab within the time mentioned in the application. 

Meanwhile, the country’s expatriates living in the UAE everyday knocking several doors of different government organizations as their work visa is about to expire, while many others have confirmed air tickets. 

Expatriates have been demanding the establishment of Rapid RT-PCR laboratories in the country's international airports for a long time. Last Tuesday (September 14), the expatriates protested under the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment.