Tatkal RT-PCR test for air passengers visiting Assam to cut quarantine time
Conducting RT-PCR tests at the airport for incoming passengers will reduce quarantine time drastically for those testing negative.
Assam government has introduced mandatory RT-PCR tests on arrival for air passengers in addition to the existing rapid antigen tests in order to reduce the time spent on quarantine.
Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced ‘tatkal’ (quick) RT-PCR test results within 24 hours and said several other guidelines were being introduced to ease travel hassles for arriving air passengers.
“At present we conduct a rapid antigen test (RAT) of air passengers at the airport on their arrival and if found negative, ask them to spend 10 days in home quarantine. From now, we will conduct both RAT and RT-PCR tests of all passengers on arrival,” Sarma told journalists.
“If a passenger pays Rs 2,200 for RT-PCR test, the result will be given within 24 hours and if it comes negative, they don’t have to spend any more time in quarantine. For those who don’t pay the amount, the RT-PCR test results will be given to them within 5 days, during which period, they will have to stay in home quarantine,” he added.
In order to reduce the time spent at the airport, after arrival, in filling up forms for Covid-19 tests, the Assam government has launched an app and a website called visitassam.org. Passengers can fill up the forms online even before arrival or can download the forms and fill them after taking a print out.
“From now on, persons who have been cured of Covid-19 won’t have to take tests or stay in quarantine on arrival at the airport, provided they are asymptomatic. However, they need to produce their discharge certificate from the hospital or Covid-19 negative report given by ICMR,” Sarma said.
The minister informed that the Covid-19 scenario in Assam continues to be grim. Till Thursday, the state had recorded 165,582 positive cases, 135,141 recoveries and 608 deaths. The positivity rate in Assam is 7.21%, fatality rate is 0.37% and the recovery rate is 81.6%.
“We are recording nearly 2400 new cases daily in September. These days we are witnessing more severe cases among patients and the number of deaths has also increased,” said Sarma.
The minister informed that efforts are on to increase ICU beds across the state. He assured that despite the surge in cases, there were adequate number of ICU and isolation beds in government hospitals at present.
“We are conducting a mass awareness drive on Covid-19 with 30,000 health workers going house to house and urging people to stay safe and get tested if any symptoms are seen. We are planning to ramp up tests and conduct 1 lakh tests daily on September 28, 29 and 30,” said Sarma.