• Saturday, Aug 15, 2020
  • Last Update : 08:24 pm

Bangladeshis going abroad must have Covid-19 clearance

  • Published at 09:28 pm July 12th, 2020
Airport
File photo of the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka Dhaka Tribune

The decision was taken at a special virtual inter ministerial meeting chaired by Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday

The government has made it mandatory for all Bangladeshis going abroad to have a Covid-19 clearance certificate provided by any of the approved Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) testing facilities.

The decision was taken at a special virtual inter ministerial meeting chaired by Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday.

The meeting was attended by Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque, Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed, and State Minister for External Affairs, Md Shahriar Alam. 

Foreign Secretary Masud bin Momen, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Private Aviation and Tourism Md Muhibul Haque, Secretary of the Ministry of Public Welfare, and Overseas Employment, Dr Ahmed Munirush Salehin, also took part in the meeting.

Speakers at the meeting recommended that the list of people who will get coronavirus clearance needs to be posted in the concerned institution’s website for the convenience of immigration authorities. 

During the meeting, it was also decided that a dedicated Covid-19 testing centre will soon be opened under the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment for migrant workers.

This move came following a significant number of passengers on a special flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines testing positive for Covid-19, when they landed in Italy’s Rome on July 6.

Airport authorities have been directed to thoroughly examine the health condition of outbound passengers. They have also been instructed to strictly verify the Covid-19 clearance certificates of travellers.

Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB), Chairman Md Mafidur Rahman, said: “Previously, no health officials were checking and recording data regarding passengers leaving Bangladesh and travellers could simply get on a plane by filling up the Covid-19 declaration form. 

“But recently we have seen that passengers who claimed to be healthy were in fact infected as they tested positive for the deadly virus when they tried to enter their desired country.”

“Considering the present situation, DGHS has decided to provide us with a doctor who will be screening and collecting health information of outbound passengers. This facility was applicable only to those entering the country,” he added.

He said: “Currently around 700 to 1,500 passengers travel in and out from Bangladesh everyday. At any given time, around 20,000 people are on the airport premises. 

“Thus, it is quite tough for us to test all these people with 100% accuracy, where we are conducting only 12,000 to 13,000 tests a day across the country. We are hoping to get at least 2,000 to 3,000 passengers tested so that they can fly with Covid-19 negative certificates.”

“DGHS will provide us with the list of hospitals and diagnostic centres where passengers will be able to get tested for the deadly virus,” added the CAAB chief.

Biman not to fly passengers to UAE without Covid-19 negative certificate 

Biman Bangladesh Airlines has said it will only carry those passengers to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, who have Covid-19 clearance certificates.

A press release was issued in this regard by the national flag carrier on Saturday night.

Tahera Khandaker, deputy general manager (PR) of Biman confirmed the matter to Dhaka Tribune on Sunday.

Passengers of Biman Bangladesh Airlines bound for Abu Dhabi and Dubai (starting from July 14) will have to get themselves tested for Covid-19 and get a clearance certificate from the testing centres approved by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government.

“These tests must be completed within 96 hours of travel. Only Abu Dhabi and Dubai bound passengers with coronavirus negative certificates will be able to travel on our flights,”

The list of approved laboratories is available on Biman's website, the release added.

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