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The new itinerary published on the Emirates website states that the results of the Covid-19 test must be negative in the RT-PCR test within 48 hours before the start of the journey and that the Covid negative certificate with QR code must be kept with the passenger. Second, they have to come to the airport six hours prior to the flight with a negative result of the Rapid PCR test and keep the Covid negative certificate containing the QR code. Transit passengers from these countries can go to Dubai, but it is important to have a Covid negative certificate with them.

The Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment has written to the directorate of health to arrange a rapid PCR test at the airport. Speaking at an event on 23 August, Minister for Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment, Imran Ahmed, also promised to set up a Rapid PCR lab at the initiative of the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare if given permission. But the excuse the health directorate has been making in this regard is unwarranted. The directorate said there is no specification of the machine and it is time consuming to buy the machine due to tender process.

At least 6,000 expatriates are waiting to return to work in the UAE. If the problem is not resolved quickly, many will lose their jobs when their visas expire. UAE expatriates are protesting in demand of arranging rapid PCR tests at international airports in Bangladesh soon. Apart from organising human chains in different districts, the expatriates have also sent memorandums to the prime minister's office and the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment. On Friday, ruling party MP Moslem Uddin Ahmed demanded that coronavirus tests be conducted at international airports in Dhaka, Chattogram and Sylhet for outbound passengers.

The ministry of health does not seem to have any action plan on what steps need to be taken to deal with various aspects of coronavirus infection. When any problem crops up, they seem to wake up. When that problem goes away, they sit idle again. We can strongly criticise the imposition of the restrictions by Emirates. Questions can be raised about the rationale of the double coronavirus test. But that will not solve the problem.

The authorities must sit with the UAE government and the concerned airlines and come to a reasonable solution in this matter. The government has to ensure that not a single expatriate worker is harmed due to the restrictions. And last but not least, the RT-PCR test should be arranged at the airport as soon as possible.

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