International arriving pax? Take an RT-PCR test at airport, board a domestic flight
MUMBAI: The ministry of civil aviation on Wednesday issued guidelines that allow airports like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore etc to carry out RT-PCR tests within the airport premises for those international arrival passengers who need to fly onwards to a domestic destination. The ministry note said that the testing will initially be carried on a pilot basis and later guidelines could be issued to extend the facility to all international arrival passengers who wish to skip institutional quarantine on arrival.
Currently, a passenger booked on say, a London-Mumbai-Ahmedabad flight can fly onwards to Ahmedabad after landing in Mumbai only if he/she has a Covid-19 negative report for an RT-PCR test taken less than 96 hours prior to boarding the London to Mumbai flight. Transit passengers who don’t have a RT-PCR report are sent to an institutional quarantine on arrival in Mumbai. In Mumbai, under BMC norms, on day two of the hotel stay, the said passenger can undergo a RT-PCR test at the hotel. Once they test negative, only then can they board the onward Mumbai to Ahmedabad flight.
The latest MoCA guideline states: "To facilitate such transfer passengers, it has now been decided to allow for RT-PCR testing at the entry airport on a pilot basis." With this, a international passenger who lands in Mumbai, or say Delhi or any other Indian airport from a foreign country, without a RT-PCR test report, will now have the option of undergoing it at the airport itself. Said a source: "The Mumbai airport has been preparing to carry out RT-PCR tests within their premises and they might be able to offer this facility in a day or two."
The MoCA note said: "The airport operator will create a sample collection cum waiting lounge facility for RT-PCR testing….The test results will take anywhere between 1.5 to 2.5 hours for RT-PCR by GeneXpert and 6-7 hours for RT-PCR by other methods," said the note issued by Usha Padhee, joint secretary.
- Coronavirus pandemic: Complete Coverage
- It's time to mask up and stay safe: Join TOI's #MaskIndia campaign
- MHA's guidelines for home isolation
- Trust the newspaper for your daily verified news
At the waiting lounge, the airport operator shall provide the passengers with the option of either awaiting the reports at the waiting lounge or proceeding to a designated hotel to isolate themselves till the test results come, it said. Airports shall provide options for online booking for such RT-PCR tests on their website or other platforms.