Demanding RT-PCR lab at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA), a section of Bangladeshis working in United Arab Emirates, who are stranded here, started fast unto death in front of the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment in Dhaka this morning.
Demonstrators said that they want a specific deadline for setting up an RT-PCR lab at the airport -- to facilitate Covid-19 test that is mandatory within six hours before boarding the plane.
"The minister has scheduled a meeting with us after lunch. We want a specific deadline. Otherwise, we will continue our demonstration," Engineer SM Mohiuddin Belal Roni, one of the organizers of the demonstration, told The Daily Star this noon.
In the morning, they also went to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) headquarter in Mohakhali and submitted a memorandum, he informed.
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.
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 UAE have not been able to go back to work.
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 UAE -- stranded here -- have been staging demonstration for the past one month.
Earlier 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.