Airports to test international passengers for Covid-19 on pilot basis

New Delhi (NVI): The Ministry of Civil Aviation has allowed RT-PCR testing at the entry airport on pilot basis to facilitate the transfer of international passengers.

The announcement was done by Minister of Civil Aviation, Hardeep Singh Puri, in Rajya Sabha today.

Under the new facility at airports, international passengers will have to book an RT-PCR test online through respective websites or other appropriate online platforms.

A well-defined flow will be laid down by airport operators for smooth conduct of testing at airports.

According to the ministry, this will be done on pilot basis. A passenger will be allowed to take the onward domestic flight only if he/she tests negative.

The result will be given within eight hours and until then, the airport operator will make sure that passengers are made to sit in a place with basic facilities, including Wi-Fi, food and washrooms.

Waiting lounge areas will have to prepared by airports in order to commence this facility.

Waiting lounges should be located away from the operational area and follow all sanitization and social distancing related guidelines issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, according to Ministry of Civil Aviation statement.

It should have no unauthorized access, should provide necessary amenities to the passengers like Wifi, F&B options, washrooms etc. and should provide cashless options for making payments with regard to testing and various amenities etc, the statement added.

Airport operator shall provide option to the passengers to either stay at the Waiting Lounge awaiting the test results or to proceed to designated Hotel(s) in order to isolate themselves till the test results are available, meanwhile, the sample collection will be done in strict compliance with the protocols established by ICMR and NABL.

Furthermore, passport of the passenger will be retained by the state authority at the sample collection cum waiting lounge till the test results are available.

If the test result is negative, passenger will be permitted to exit the waiting lounge and proceed to the departures to catch the connecting flight. However, if the result is positive, the passenger will be processed in line with applicable ICMR protocols by the state authorities.