RT-PCR mandatory for passengers from 9 countries landing in Kolkata
International passengers from nine countries would have to take RT-PCR test after landing at the NSCBI airport in Kolkata, irrespective of whether they carry a Covid-19 negative report or have been fully vaccinated, health department officials said.
The countries are UK, Brazil, New Zealand, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Botswana, China, Bangladesh and South Africa. The new restrictions were imposed amid reports of new mutations of SARS-CoV-2 and the rising number of variants of concern and variants of interest globally.
“We have come up with a new protocol for international travellers after a meeting with experts. International passengers coming from these countries will have to undergo RT-PCR test on arrival, irrespective of negative test report before boarding or even if they have been fully vaccinated,” said a senior official of the state health department.
Fliers will have to pay for getting testing at the airport itself. For free testing, they will be sent to a government facility – Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute at Rajarhat.
“The passengers will be allowed to go home or to a hotel and will be advised to stay in quarantine till the RT-PCR report arrives. If it is positive, they will be admitted at the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Kolkata,” the official said.
Even though the daily count of Covid-19 cases crossed the 20,000-mark mid-May after the assembly elections were held, daily cases have come down now. On Tuesday, 601 new cases were reported from across the state with seven deaths.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission has announced elections and by-elections in three assembly seats on September 30. Durga Puja, the biggest festival in the state, is also falling in the second week of October this year.