Coronavirus Pandemic

UAE flights: Bangladeshi expats still stranded as airports do not have Covid test facilities

SM Ayaz Zakir/Dubai
Filed on September 11, 2021
Reuters file photo

Some of them have resorted to third-country quarantine to fly back to the UAE.

UAE residents who are stranded in Bangladesh are in a fix because airports in their country do not have the facilities for the rapid PCR tests, travel agents have said.

Listen to this story and more on the 8@8 with David Light podcast

The UAE authorities on Friday relaxed certain rules to facilitate stranded residents' return, including those stuck in Bangladesh. However, passengers must produce a result for a test that has been conducted at the airport within six hours of departure.

>> Flights from Bangladesh to Abu Dhabi to open on Sept 12, says Etihad

>>Dubai flights: Rapid PCR tests can be taken within 6 hours of travel

“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.

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