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The Financial Express

Credibility of Corona-test certificates  

Published: June 14, 2020 22:30:55 | Updated: June 16, 2020 21:25:20


Credibility of Corona-test certificates   

Japan's decision to suspend flights from Dhaka to that country sometime ago created a degree of disquiet. According to a recent FE report, what triggered the Japanese measure was this: Four Bangladeshis, among others, had left the country on April 30 for Japan on a charted flight on the basis of corona-negative certificates. All the four turned out to be testing corona positive in a couple of days upon their arrival in Japan. The Bangladesh authorities have put forward their own viewpoint -- the short-duration validity of the corona test reports, meaning the results might change in accordance with a patient's condition or they may have become corona positive in the natural process at a later date. Nonetheless, they haven't tried to gloss over their embarrassment. The Foreign Minister has said the government is 'concerned' over the incident. The Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary termed the incident 'harmful to the image of the country'.

A similar situation arose with 11 passengers who travelled to South Korea on May 11. They had also allegedly carried forged corona-negative papers, and they tested corona positive on reaching South Korea. Bangladeshis were among the passengers travelling by a chartered flight of Korean Air. Needless to say, on the question of integrity there should be no slippages through lack of monitoring or cracks in the system, especially when it involves relations with friendly countries. When Bangladesh is assiduously trying to rein in the pandemic's deadly spread, we can ill-afford such distractions. Japan has been Bangladesh's largest bilateral development partner. Bangladesh also greatly values its warm ties with South Korea. All the three nations have been enjoying excellent ties based on maturity of understanding and do look forward to stronger, mutually beneficial relationships in these trying times.

As expected, the government and its different agencies have attached great importance to the task of identifying quarters trying to take advantage of the vulnerabilities in the situation. In line with this, several remedial meetings centring on the corona-test report veracities have been held between the aviation, health and foreign ministries. When it comes to coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, South Korea comes up as a role-model for any country. The country's amazing success in keeping the corona monster on tight leash and, finally, its emergence almost unscathed appears as a feature worth emulating by others. Bangladesh looks to South Korea for sharing its anti-corona strategies and its experiences in order to replicate those in coping with the terrible pandemic.

Bangladesh is passing through one of its worst national phases after its independence in 1971. Following a 66-day shutdown across the country, it was anticipating significant reduction in the infections and fatalities. Instead, it has been thrust into the 'peaking phase' of the malady. In order to come free of the novel coronavirus swoop, the prime need for 'testing, and testing' cannot be trifled with. The tests are aimed at detecting and, thus, treating COVID-19 cases -- or putting the citizens' worries to rest.  Unfortunately, these efforts have lately ended in a mess-up. It warrants immediate remedial action.

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