Omicron threat: Pre-booking RT-PCR mandatory at these 6 airports from today. Here's how to do it

As per a government notification, the ‘Air Suvidha’ portal would be modified to accommodate passengers, who are arriving from the ‘at risk’ countries or have visited those in the past 14 days.
Passengers at Terminal 3 of the New Delhi airport. (File Photo / HT)
Passengers at Terminal 3 of the New Delhi airport. (File Photo / HT)
Published on Dec 20, 2021 06:00 AM IST
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Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Passengers from countries, listed as ‘at risk’ in the wake of the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, arriving at six major airports in India on or after Monday, will have to mandatorily pre-book RT-PCR tests, according to instructions issued last week by the ministry of civil aviation. As per a government notification, the ‘Air Suvidha’ portal would be modified to accommodate passengers, who are arriving from the ‘at risk’ countries or have visited those in the past 14 days.

These airports are also the ones located in six major metro cities in the country – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. The ministry clarified that this is merely the first stage of implementation of the protocol, and after stabilising the system and ensuring that passengers do not face any major hassle in pre-booking, the rule might be extended to other airports, too.

The real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is usually considered one of the most accurate laboratory methods yet for detecting, tracking, and studying the presence of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19)-causing SARS-Cov-2 virus in an individual. Airports in India have been conducting both rapid and regular RT-PCR tests, sometimes handling up to 15,000 samples a day, and the results of each might take anywhere from one hour to eight hours.

How to pre-book RT-PCR tests at airports in India?

Here's how visitors can pre-book slots online for their respective RT-PCR tests at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Kolkata's Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, or otherwise:

1. Visit the official website for the international airport of the city you are travelling to. For convenience, here are the ones for Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata.

2. Look for an option called ‘Book Covid-19 Test' on the top panel.

3. Next, select travel type (in this case, international arrival).

4. Fill up all personal details such as name, email ID, mobile number, Aadhaar card/passport number, address, appointment date, time slot, etc.

5. After entering all the details, select the type of test (in this case, RT-PCR, though Rapid PCR testing is available as well)

6. Follow the instructions displayed on the screen, and book a slot for your RT-PCR test on arrival at the airport.

How much will the RT-PCR test cost you?

For a regular RT-PCR test, a traveller will have to pay 500, while the cost of a rapid PCR test, on the other hand, is 3,500. In the case of the former, test results will be available within six-eight hours, while the corresponding duration for the latter is just 30 minutes to one and a half hours. The testing facility is available for everyone travelling to or via the IGI airport.

Additionally, passengers have the option to reschedule their appointment or cancel the booking altogether.

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