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In a first, 250 fliers departing from Delhi airport for Netherlands undergo Covid testing

i For the first time, around 250 passengers departing from Delhi international airport underwent Covid-19 antigen tests on Sunday, after the Netherlands made it mandatory for all incoming passengers to undergo the test four hours prior to their departure
By Anvit Srivastava, New Delh
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 10:12 PM IST

i For the first time, around 250 passengers departing from Delhi international airport underwent Covid-19 antigen tests on Sunday, after the Netherlands made it mandatory for all incoming passengers to undergo the test four hours prior to their departure. All 250 passengers tested negative for the novel coronavirus.

As per the new rule introduced by the government of the Netherlands, a negative antigen test result, four hours prior to the flight, is required to board a flight to that country. This is in addition to the existing mandatory requirement of getting the RT-PCR test done within 72 hours of arriving in the Netherlands.

At Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, the tests are being conducted by Genestrings Diagnostics Centre, that also runs the RT-PCR Covid-19 testing facility at the airport.

Dr Gauri Agarwal, founder and director, Genestrings, said the antigen tests were conducted for the first time on Sunday for KLM’s Amsterdam-bound passengers. “Over 250 passengers were tested on Sunday night under the effective supervision of KLM ground staff and Genestrings. The passengers were appreciative of the facility, given that it was set up quickly, after the new SOP from the Dutch government. Delhi airport team has been very supportive and helped us make arrangements swiftly and efficiently,” she said.

Officials from Delhi airport said passengers of all flights going to the Netherlands, even those with a stopover in Amsterdam, will be tested. “On Monday night, an Air France flight is operating on Delhi-Amsterdam-Belgium route. About 20-25 passengers who will alight at Amsterdam are also being tested at the Delhi airport,” the official said, requesting not to be named.

The official said there are flights from Delhi to the Netherlands almost every alternate day following the ongoing restrictions on international flights due to the pandemic.

In its advisory to passengers, KLM tweeted, “The latest advisory by the government of the Netherlands requires all passengers arriving in the Netherlands effective 23 January 2021 to undergo a rapid antigen test within 4 hours prior to departures.”

Recently, the Indian government had also mandated that passengers arriving from the UK are to undertake an RT-PCR test for Covid-19 at the Delhi airport upon arrival. So far, only 22 passengers from the UK have tested positive. All of them were sent to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for gene sequencing.

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