UAE residents who are stranded in Bangladesh are in a fix as airports do not have the facilities for the rapid PCR tests, travel agents have said.
The UAE authorities on Friday relaxed certain rules to facilitate stranded residents' return, including those stuck in Bangladesh, reports Khaleej Times.
However, passengers must produce a result for a test that has been conducted at the airport within six hours of departure.
"Since rapid PCR testing facilities are not available at airports in Bangladesh, residents are not able to fulfil the travel requirements to the UAE," said Syed Mudassir, sales manager at Al Bloushi travels.
A number of Bangladeshi nationals who are returning to the UAE have resorted to trips to third countries where they spend the quarantine period.
Mir Wasim Raja, manager for MICE and holidays at Galadari International Travel Services, said Sri Lanka has been the "most viable" quarantine destination for Bangladeshis, owing to the country's geographical location.
Mudassir said some stranded expats also opt for South European countries and Central Asian countries. "Montenegro, Albania and Serbia have become part of the options."
Syed Ashraful, a Bangladeshi expat who runs a grocery store in Abu Hail, has been waiting for his workers to return over the last six months.
"Two of them had been on vacation since March and haven't returned until now due to the travel restriction. I heard that the required PCR test facility is not available at the airports in Bangladesh."
"There are thousands of them who are willing to return to the Gulf countries, but are unable to," he added.
Meanwhile, RT-PCR testing booths will be set up at the country's three airports soon so that international passengers could undergo Covid-19 test four to six hours before their flights, said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam on 6 September.
The directive came from a virtual cabinet meeting held with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair, who joined it from her official residence Ganabhaban.
"Since a good number of countries imposed condition for travelers that they would have to undergo RT-PCR test within four, six or eight hours of flying…So, the authorities were asked to install RT-PCR machines within the next two or three days," said Khandker Anwarul Islam while briefing reporters after the meeting.
The RT-PCR testing booths would be installed at three international airports – Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet, he said replying to a question.