The government has approved seven private laboratories to set up RT-PCR booths to test outgoing passengers for Covid-19 at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA).
Outbound passengers will be able to undergo Covid-19 tests at the booths by paying a minimum of Tk1,700 to a maximum of Tk2,300, according to a Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment circular issued on Wednesday.
The approval came a day after a group of migrant workers announced a hunger strike in front of the ministry demanding Covid-19 testing booths at the airport. The strike was later called off.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has formed a five-member team to monitor the quality of the tests at the new labs.
The organizations approved for setting booths at HSIA are— Stemz Health Care (BD) Limited Dhaka, CSBF Health Centre, AMZ Hospital Limited, Anwar Khan Modern Medical College
Hospital (AKMMCH), Zainul Haque Sikder Women's Medical College (ZHSWMC), Gulshan Clinic Limited, and DMFR Molecular Lab and Diagnostics.
Among the institutions, Stemz Health Care said they will be able to install a lab within three days. They have fixed the test fee at Tk2000 each.
Meanwhile, CSBF Health Centre, AMZ Hospital, and Gulshan Clinic have asked for five days to set up labs at the airport, while they've fixed Tk1,500, Tk1,800, and Tk1,750 for testing each sample. AKMMCH and DMFR said they needed four days to set up their booths with each sample testing fee at Tk2000 and Tk2,300. Besides, ZHSWMC said they will need six days for booth installation and will charge Tk1,700 to test each sample.
The expatriate's welfare ministry in its circular asked the DGHS Director-General to direct concerned authorities to take necessary steps for the booth installations.
Earlier, in a virtual meeting on Tuesday, the Health Department formed a quality monitoring committee for the Covid-19 sample tests at the booths with IEDCR' Senior Scientific Officer Sharmin Sultana as its convener. Habib Ismail Bhuiyan, assistant director (Hospital and Clinic) of the health department has been appointed as the member secretary of the committee.
The other members of the committee are— Dr Arifa Akram, assistant professor at the National Institute of Laboratory Medicine and Referral Centre, Dr Jahidur Rahman, assistant professor at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College, and Dr Abu Zahir, chief health co-ordinator at HSIA.