The United Arab Emirates-bound workers have started returning to their workplaces on Thursday as the Gulf country approved the standard operating procedures of the Covid-19 test labs at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
Around 50 migrant workers went to their destination by various airlines till 7:00 pm yesterday after they were tested Covid-19 negative at the Dhaka airport labs.
Another 43 passengers were scheduled to fly at 7.30 pm by Emirates airline, said Dr Dipon Deb Nath, assistant health officer at Dhaka airport.
Around 40,000 expatriates, who came home on vacation, were unable to return to the UAE as the Gulf country in August made pre-flight Covid-19 testing mandatory for inbound passengers.
In an announcement, the country said foreign passengers must do a PCR test for Covid-19 maximum six hours before their flight.
The lack of such testing facilities in the country's international airports, however, meant many returnees were stranded in Bangladesh.
Following that, the stranded workers demanded that testing facilities be quickly set up at the international airports. The workers feared that they would lose their jobs if they failed to reach their workplaces.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on 6 September instructed the authorities concerned to immediately set up labs at the country's three international airports in Dhaka, Chattogram and Sylhet.
On 15 September, the expatriates' welfare ministry announced that they had permitted six private healthcare firms to set up Covid testing labs at Dhaka airport upon the recommendations of the Directorate General of Health Services.
The six firms submitted their standard operating procedures to the UAE on 16 September.
The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates sent a letter to Bangladesh approving the labs on Wednesday.