Goa seeks ICMR nod to conduct antibody tests on arriving air passengers
The domestic flight services were suspended on March 25 after the central government imposed nationwide lockdown restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.Updated: May 23, 2020 17:31 IST
The Goa government has urged the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) authorities to allow it to conduct rapid antibody tests on all passengers after the domestic flight services resume on Monday.
The domestic flight services were suspended on March 25 after the central government imposed nationwide lockdown restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
State health minister Vishwajit Rane said that the move was aimed at ensuring that there was no community transmission in the state.
“I’ve requested the ICMR and the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation to permit us to conduct an antibody test of air passengers, who will be issued a Covid-19 negative certificate to enter Goa after domestic flight operations resume on Monday,” Rane said.
“Rapid antibody tests will help us identify asymptomatic patients at the airport. It’ll avoid community transmission,” he added.
So far, 47 people have tested Covid-19 positive after the state government started conducting tests on all those, who have returned to Goa since May 14 amid the easing of lockdown restrictions. Over 50% of the 47 Covid-19 positive people have returned to Goa via Shramik Special trains.
At present, Goa has 38 active Covid-19 positive cases after nine people from the second wave of infections have recovered and discharged from the dedicated Covid-19 hospital in south Goa.
The state has reported 54 Covid-19 positive cases, including seven in the first wave of viral infection in April, who have all recovered since then.
Earlier, Union Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Puri had announced that states should not quarantine passengers upon their arrival, as these are short-haul flights. However, some states such as Karnataka is in favour of quarantining air passengers, especially if they are flying out of worst-hit Covid-19 states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, etc.
Goa is conducting swab sample tests on all those entering the state and then quarantining them until the ICMR allows conducting TrueNat rapid antibody tests.
Kiosks have been set up at the airport, checkpoints on roads, and at the port for the collection of swab samples. Rail passengers are escorted via buses to hospitals, where they are undergoing tests.
It takes a few hours for the results of swab samples to be made available.
Rapid antibody tests are a blood test for the presence of antibodies. The ICMR had suspended antibody tests after the state complained of inaccurate results.