B’desh makes negative COVID-19 report mandatory to travel abroad

Dhaka: The Bangladesh government has made it mandatory for everyone to take a certificate from authorised testing centres as evidence that they do not have coronavirus before travelling abroad, the Foreign Ministry said.

An online inter-ministerial meeting took the decision on Sunday amid investigations into scandals over fake COVID-19 test reports, reports bdnews24.

A proposal was placed in the meeting for online submission of the test reports to the immigration authorities.

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The meeting also decided to set up a testing centre under the expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry for only Bangladeshis who are travelling abroad to work.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, Health Minister Zahid Malik, Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad, and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam joined the meeting.

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary Mohibul Haque and Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Ahmed Munirus Saleheen were also present.

The development comes in the wake of the arrest of Sabrina A Chaudhury, a government doctor and chairman of JKG Health Care, over her alleged involvement in a COVID-19 testing scam, bdnews24 reported.

Police brought charges against JKG Health Care for providing false reports without testing the swabs collected from the people for COVID-19 tests.

A large number of fabricated COVID-19 test reports, written on the official pads of the health directorate and the IEDCR, were found on the laptops of JKG Health Care,” said Md Mahmud Khan, an assistant commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.

On June 24, the Directorate General of Health Services stripped JKG of the permission for collecting samples for COVID-19 tests.

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