The experimental run of RT-PCR Covid testing facilities at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka began today.
"The tentative date for the official service opening can be known after the observation is over," Health Ministry PRO Maidul Islam confirmed the matter to the Business Standard.
Last week, Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad said that the rapid Covid testing facility for outbound expatriates will be available by next week.
"The installation work of the Rapid PCR machines will start after 7-10 days since they will be brought from abroad," he said adding that RT-PCR machines will be installed within the next 2/3 days.
Reportedly, the facility will temporarily begin offering its service from the airport terminal owing to the extra time needed to prepare the lab at the multi-storey airport car parking building.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque said, "Companies assigned with the installation will soon begin their work. It may take some time but the labs will be set up with all kinds of facilities."
The UAE has made it mandatory for migrants returnees to get a rapid PCR test six hours prior to flying from Bangladesh. The decision put around 40,000 UAE-bound Bangladeshi workers in limbo as they fear visa expiration and job losses.
On 15 September, the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment gave permission to seven healthcare facilities to set up labs at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
Among them, six laboratories sent standard operating procedure (SOP) to United Arab Emirates (UAE) to get approval.
The wait to get approval from the UAE is the reason behind the delay to start Covid-19 testing for departing migrants at Dhaka Airport, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB).