Arriving passengers to be tested for Covid-19 via RT-PCR at Delhi airport
All passengers from the UK, Brazil, South Africa, all European countries and the Middle East arriving at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport will compulsorily have to undergo an RT-PCR test beginning Tuesday, 12am. However, they may need not mandatorily undergo institutional quarantine.
As per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) given by the ministry of health and family welfare dated February 17, passengers from these high-risk countries can get their tests done at the airport before proceeding for home quarantine. Transit passengers will, however, have to wait for six hours until their reports are out.
The new SOP states, “All travellers from UK, Brazil and South Africa on their arrival will give their sample in the designated area and exit the airport. They will be followed up by the state Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP). The concerned state authorities/airport operators will collect and convey the test report to the traveller. If tested negative, they will remain in home quarantine for seven days and will be regularly followed up by the concerned state IDSP. These travellers shall again be tested after seven days and if found negative, released from quarantine, and continue to monitor their health for a further seven days. All those tested positive shall undergo treatment.”
It adds that all other travellers from Europe and Middle East (other than those in flights originating from Brazil, South Africa and UK) who have to exit the destination airport or take a connecting flight to their final domestic destination will undergo the same protocol but will be advised to self-monitor their health for 14 days.
Meanwhile, the new arrangement has increased the daily number of RT-PCR tests tenfold, according to Genestrings diagnostics that is conducting these tests at the Delhi airport.
Genestrings diagnostics founder-director Dr Gauri Agarwal said this stringent approach to control the spread of the new variant of the coronavirus by making testing mandatory for travellers from identified high-risk countries will take the number of daily tests from 500-600 to 7,000+.
“While our laboratory is equipped to test above 15,000 samples per day, the operations team comprising data entry operators and sample collection technicians also had to be increased tenfold to handle the large inflow of passengers from UK, Europe and Middle East. For this, a massive recruitment drive was launched immediately after the SOP was announced and at least 230 staff members was recruited overnight and trained over the next two days,” Agarwal said.
She said that during the peak hours of 3-5am, there are expected to be roughly 1,200 passengers per hour who will undergo the mandatory testing.
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