OF DEMOS AND DEMANDS

Expat welfare minister assures them of setting up RT-PCR lab at airport

Migrant workers at the expatriates’ welfare ministry. Photo: Collected

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Migrant workers at the expatriates’ welfare ministry. Photo: Collected

After assurance from the authorities, the stranded Bangladeshis who works in the United Arab Emirates withdrew their fast unto death sit-in in front of the expatriates’ welfare ministry in Dhaka yesterday.

As part of their month-long demonstration, they started the sit-in in the morning, demanding an RT-PCR lab at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) immediately.

Around 3pm, Expatriates’ Welfare Minister Imran Ahmad sat in a meeting with a delegation of the demonstrators.

“The minister has assured that he will inform us by tomorrow (today) morning that exactly from when we would be able to get RT-PCR test service at the airport. Based on his assurance, we have postponed our demonstration,” said Md Salahuddin, a representative of the demonstrators.

He said, “We expect the minister will declare a logical deadline. Otherwise, we will take to the street again. Because, we have been suffering a lot for this.”

Earlier in the morning, the protesters also went to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) headquarters in Mohakhali and submitted a memorandum.

On August 4, the UAE government imposed a condition for migrant workers from different countries, including Bangladesh, that they must carry Covid-19 negative certificate based on RT-PCR test within six hours before boarding the plane, according to the stranded migrant workers.

Besides, passengers have to stay inside airport after giving samples and will not be allowed to get in close contact with others.

In response, countries like India and Pakistan have already set up RT-PCR lab at their airports, according to the demonstrators.

Having no RT-PCR lab at Dhaka airport, around 50,000 expats working in the UAE have not been able to go back to work for months.

The government has arranged sample collection booths at the army stadium, designated for migrant workers. However, it takes at least 24 hours to get test results, they said.

Expats working in the UAE — stranded here — have been staging demonstration for the past one month over the issue.

On September 6, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina directed to set up an RT-PCR lab at the airport in response to the expats’ previous demonstration.



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