Sunday, October 1, 2023
HomeIndiaOmicron scare- Revised testing rules leave passengers waiting for 6 hours at...

Omicron scare- Revised testing rules leave passengers waiting for 6 hours at airports

The Omicron variant of coronavirus has accelerated all government attempts to prevent its entry in India, or if it already has, then buckle up to stop the super-spreader mutant from making havoc like the second wave.  

As several states imposed travel, testing, and quarantine rules overnight for international arrivals, expensive covid tests, long queues, and several hours of waiting periods were witnessed at international airports in the country since this morning. Though there are no restrictions as such in place for now, all passengers coming from at-risk countries now need to undergo either rapid antigen or RT-PCR test to rule out the chance of being infected with covid-19, more so with the omicron variant that has set off fresh alarms across the world.  

Several passengers were informed of the institutional quarantine rules post landing as the announcements were made while they were mid-air. These included travelers from nations that have confirmed Omicron cases. Every passenger has to get tested for covid-19 on arrival and they will be allowed to leave the airport only after the result comes negative. This is leading to longer waiting periods as many people are forced to stay for more than 6 hours at the airport, excluding the time spent in customs, immigrations, baggage claims, and other formalities.  

ALSO READ: Omicron May Require Stringent Response, Too Soon To Know Anything: Scientists

Two percent of the passengers coming from other countries (the ones that aren’t on the at-risk list) will also be tested at random. Though they can leave the airport before the results are out, home isolation is mandatory for a minimum of one week, during which any covid-related symptom have to be reported to the authorities.  

1,013 people from 4 at-risk countries were tested this morning in Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport today. All were negative, hence allowed to leave. While rapid antigen tests cost Rs 3,900 with waiting time for results between 2.5-3 hours, the more reliable RT-PCR tests cost Rs 500 with 5-6 hours of waiting time. Passengers can opt for either of the tests based on their preference.  

However, Maharashtra has imposed mandatory institutional quarantine for international travelers from at-risk nations, irrespective of the test results as RT-PCR tests too return with false negatives sometimes. These passengers also have to take 3 more tests on the second, fourth, and seventh day post-arrival.  

ALSO READ: Four tested positive for Covid at IGI airport, samples sent for sequencing

The state administration also reported that 6 passengers from the at-risk countries tested today were found to be covid-19 positive. All of them were either asymptomatic or showing mild symptoms. The Health Department said that their samples have been sent to the lab for genome sequencing while contact tracing has also started.  

In Bengaluru, all passengers from ‘at risk’ countries have to mandatorily wait till the test result comes negative. Even after that, home quarantine for 7 days and another test on the 8th day is crucial. Self-monitoring for the next 7 days after the second negative test result should be followed.  

Meanwhile, in Chennai, 88 passengers from at-risk nations were tested and found covid negative.  

ALSO READ: International Arrival Process Running Smoothly Post New Guidelines

Authorities in Delhi have suggested travelers pre-book their covid tests to avoid long waiting hours at airports as the waiting hall can only accommodate 700 passengers at one time. In the national capital, rapid antigen test costs Rs 4000 while RT-PCR is for Rs 900. However, the time for the former is 30 mins while the latter can take up to 6 hours.  

Though the health minister said that the Omicron virus hasn’t entered India, a senior doctor from ICMR said that the strain is likely to already be present in the country by now.  




(This story has been sourced from a third-party syndicated feed, agencies. Raavi Media accepts no responsibility or liability for the dependability, trustworthiness, reliability, and data of the text.  Raavi Media management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content at its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.)