Dhaka airport launches COVID tests for outbound travellers Saturday

The Bangladesh government will launch RT-PCR coronavirus tests for outbound travellers at Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka on Saturday. 

The work to set up the infrastructure for the labs will be complete by Thursday evening, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said after visiting the site in the afternoon.

“Some machines have arrived already. The health sector officials worked relentlessly for this. If everything goes according to the plan, outbound travellers will be able to take flights after the tests here on Saturday.”

The government approved the labs also for rapid antigen tests. By using 12 machines in six labs at the airport, the health workers will be able to conduct tests on 3,500 to 4,000 people daily.    

Bangladesh requires anyone travelling abroad to have a PCR negative test conducted 48 to 72 hours prior to the flight. But several countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, have recently also required air travellers to have a rapid PCR negative test conducted 6 hours prior to the flight.

Bangladeshis have been unable to travel to these countries as Bangladesh’s three international airports were not equipped with rapid PCR machines. Expatriates have made demands for rapid PCR testing facilities and labs to be set up at the Dhaka, Chattogram and Sylhet airports.