A fresh set of protocols have been announced by the officials of Delhi International Airport (DIAL) restricting international travellers to India to enter without a negative Covid-test report.
New rules from international travellers at Delhi airport. (Representative Image, Reuters)
Delhi is tightening its norms to repel all chances of another wave of Covid-19 with mutant strains. A fresh set of protocols have been announced by the officials of Delhi International Airport (DIAL) restricting international travellers to India to enter without a negative Covid-test report.
According to the new set of guidelines all international passengers have to furnish negative test reports. They have to upload results of the PCR test taken a maximum 72 hours prior to the flight. Passengers from the Middle East, UK and European countries have to again get a PCR test done on arrival at the Delhi airport and those with final destination here can head home after submitting their swab sample.
Circulation of new variants of Covid-19 strain from Brazil, the UK and South Africa have prompted the authorities to bring new norms. Domestic travellers from five states, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Kerala also need to submit negative PCR test reports before entering Delhi as they have witnessed a surge in Covid cases in the last few days.
The revamped Air Suvidha portal will ask passengers to submit a compulsory self-declaration form that will help them identify passengers from high-risk countries such as the UK, South Africa and Brazil. Another field for travellers with domestic connections has been provided that can help authorities do contact tracing if required.
Passengers need not wait till they get their results, If their final destination is Delhi, they can head home after submitting their sample preferably in a private vehicle. Results will reach them in a few hours. The test on arrival protocol has been taken to stay on the safer side, said a Delhi government official to IE. Over 2000 passengers were tested so far, but none with positive results. A sample is sent for genome sequencing only if found positive, he further informed.
Transit passengers from other countries need to wait at the lounge until they get clearance over their test results. The only category of exemption available now for passengers is death in their family. Passengers can choose from two testing packages. The one that comes with faster results is priced at Rs 1300 while the one with regular one is Rs 800.
Few batches of passengers, especially the ones who had a stopover at the Delhi airport and were headed to other cities faced inconveniences as the protocol changed overnight. Many missed flights as they waited for the PCR-test results. Passengers also complained of crowded lounge with passengers from Brazil, the Middle East, South Africa making them worry about the chances of getting an infection while waiting there.
Airport officials assured that things will get better from the next batch as passengers on a flight will come, get tested and move ahead in a systematic manner.