Delhi’s IGI airport starts Covid testing facility for passengers arriving at international terminal
Passengers can also book a slot for their tests online prior to their arrival in Delhi to avoid queuing up and waiting for their turnUpdated: Sep 12, 2020, 19:42 IST
Delhi airport on Friday evening started a facility to test passengers arriving at international terminal for Covid-19.
It is not mandatory for international passengers to take the test at the airport. If a person tests negative for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) at the airport, (s)he will be exempted from the mandatory institutional quarantine, officials said.
Currently, all international passengers arriving in Delhi need to be institutionally quarantined. Those with a connecting Vande Bharat flight are allowed to quarantine themselves at their destination. Those carrying an RT-PCR negative report are allowed to journey onward and can seek exemption from institutional quarantine too. For this exemption, the RT-PCR test has to be conducted at least 96 hours before the journey.
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HT had reported on August 18 about the proposed facility. The Delhi airport operator DIAL (Delhi International Airport Ltd) has collaborated with a Delhi-based laboratory — which is associated with the Delhi government — to test Covid-19 samples.
An official from the airport said passengers can also book a slot for their tests online prior to their arrival in Delhi to avoid queuing up and waiting for their turn. “The facility started operating on Friday evening. We’ve started getting requests for slots. Bookings can be made through the Delhi airport’s website on a first come first serve basis. Because test results will take around six hours, passengers who have a connecting flight are requested to maintain a gap of around 8-10 hours,” the official added.
The facility has been constructed in a 3,500 square metre area at the multi-level car park of Terminal 3. It is the first such arrangement among Indian airports. Because the results of samples collected at the laboratory will be declared in around 4-6 hours, until the results are confirmed, passengers can wait in the lounge or stay in a hotel, another official from the Delhi airport said, requesting anonymity.
The lab is equipped to handle up to 2,500 samples per day.
“In case of a positive result, the passenger will be either sent to a hospital, institutional quarantine or home quarantine, as applicable as per the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) protocols. This will help the authorities keep infected passengers away from others. Those testing negative can continue on their journey,” the airport official said.
Another airport official, who wished not to be named, said the charge for the test at the airport will be Rs 5,000, which will cover a passenger’s stay, food and beverages at the lounge till the time the results are out.