Passengers unaware of testing schedule, says DGHS MIS Director Dr Habibur
The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) has requested the health authorities to provide Covid-19 certificates to people planning to go to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) within 48 hours after they provide their samples.
CAAB has asked the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) to issue the certificates within the mentioned time frame to facilitate the travel of KSA-bound passengers.
The request came after several KSA-bound Bangladeshi expatriates reported the difficulties faced by them in obtaining Covid-19 certificates before their flights.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Saudia airlines, recently announced the start of chartered flights to KSA by September 30 to take Bangladeshis stuck in their homeland back to Saudi Arabia where they serve as migrant workers.
Both airlines are scheduled to start operating commercial flights in full swing from October 1.
According to the current immigration rules of KSA, everyone entering the country must show a Covid-19 negative certificate issued within 48 hours prior to arrival in KSA.
The Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment previously directed the DGHS to issue Covid-19 certificates to KSA-bound passengers on time, CAAB Chairman M Mafidur Rahman told Dhaka Tribune.
The Civil Aviation Ministry also passed a resolution on the matter.
Only the DGHS can say why they are taking so much time to do it, Mafidur said.
If the DGHS cannot do it in a timely manner, they should inform the concerned ministry, he added.
Asked about the matter, DGHS Management Information System (MIS) Director Dr Md Habibur Rahman said: “We have been instructed to issue Covid-19 test reports within 24 hours after the samples are provided. But the passengers come to provide samples on the day of their flight.
“It’s not possible to complete the tests within 12 hours. We are following the given instructions but it is the passengers who are unaware of the testing schedule.”
He continued: “We consider their [passenger] situation and try to issue test reports in a short time so they don’t miss their flights.
“But we are under a lot of pressure despite having enough manpower. The database might be compromised at any time.
“If a situation suddenly arises where we are not able to provide the Covid-19 test certificates, it will cause various problems. People might miss their flights, which may lead to unpleasant incidents.”
“We don’t want extra time,” he emphasized. “If a passenger arrives at the test centre a day before their flight, we can easily give them the test report within 24 hours.”