The government today decided to issue health clearance certificates to the outgoing Bangladeshis after tests if any country makes it mandatory to show medical certificates mentioning they are free of coronavirus.
The decision was taken after about a hundred Bangladeshi expatriates, who work in Kuwait and came to Bangladesh recently, were informed by the Kuwait Embassy in Dhaka that they need to have medical certificates from Bangladesh's Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) before returning to their workplace in the Middle-East country.
After the expatriates were informed about the conditions of having medical certificates, they thronged at the Kuwait Embassy in the morning and later gathered in front of the IEDCR.
A hue and cry started on the IEDCR compound, when Health Services Director General Abul Kalam Azad went there to console them. After he assured them that they would be tested by the IEDCR and given medical certificates afterwards if they do not have the coronavirus, the expatriates left the area after registering their names and contacts with the IEDCR.
In an impromptu news briefing, the Health Services director said the authorities of Kuwait and other countries have rights to take such measures to prevent spread of coronavirus.
"We've taken similar measures for some countries that they need to have medical certificates if they want to visit Bangladesh," he said.
"But, I'll assure our expatriates who are now staying in Bangladesh and intending to return to their works will be tested by the IEDCR and given medical certificates if they do not have coronavirus," he added further.
The Health Services DG said the test will be conducted by the IEDCR and before Saturday an institute or a hospital would be selected where the test seekers would go for such tests.
All details would be circulated through mass media and a banner in this regard would be installed in front of the IEDCR, he said.
Health Services DG said they were not aware about the development from Kuwait for which they could not arrange the test beforehand. "We would request the concerned authorities to consider the situation of the passengers and reschedule their flights," he said.
On March 4, Kuwait's civil aviation authority said passengers from 10 nations including Bangladesh, must produce certificates issued by the Kuwaiti embassy in their country saying they are coronavirus free.
Kuwaiti authorities recently instituted a spate of measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus, including quarantines and banning visits to prisons for two weeks.