New protocol to test international passengers at Delhi airport, some chaos during initial flights

A recent set of protocols are in place at the Delhi airport, officers of the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) mentioned, days after the Centre issued new tips for international passengers travelling to India.

The new protocols say all international passengers have to get examined and add their unfavorable test studies 72 hours prior to the flight. Passengers from the UK, Europe and Middle East have to get obligatory RT-PCR assessments completed on arrival, and people whose remaining vacation spot is Delhi can head house after the swab.

The new tips got here following elevated proof of circulation of mutant variants of Covid-19, which have been discovered within the UK, South Africa and Brazil. The broader categorisation was made as a result of there aren’t any direct flights from South Africa and Brazil. Most passengers arriving from these international locations come by way of Europe or the Middle East.

The Air Suvidha portal has additionally been revamped. On opening the portal, passengers are proven advisories stating the brand new protocols.

Regarding the self declaration types (SDF) that at the moment are obligatory for all international arrivals, a DIAL official mentioned, “The SDF will also help identify passengers from high-risk countries such as the UK, Brazil and South Africa. A new field for declaring domestic connection has been added in the Air Suvidha portal. This will help implement the new SOP for domestic transit passengers and improve contact tracing.”

However, in contrast to earlier, passengers can head house after getting examined if their remaining vacation spot is Delhi. They obtain their ends in a number of hours. Officials mentioned passengers are suggested to take non-public as an alternative of public transport.

A Delhi authorities official mentioned, “Since they are already being tested 72 hours prior to the flight, the chances of testing positive are very slim. The test upon arrival is just to be on the safer side. So far, out of over 2,000 passengers, none have tested positive. In case anybody tests positive, we will inform them via call and email.”

Samples are despatched for genome sequencing in case of a constructive consequence.

Transit passengers from these international locations have to wait for his or her test ends in the lounge and take their connecting flights solely after they test unfavorable.

Other classes of exemptions stand cancelled from February 22, and a passenger can solely apply for exemption on the portal in case of a loss of life within the household.

The revised testing packages are of two sorts — common, which prices Rs 800 per test, and premium, which prices Rs 1,300 and guarantees to be sooner and extra handy. Those who apply for premium may have an airport staffer assist them refill types and get their assessments completed.

Chaos over new protocol

The first few batches of passengers confronted points because the protocol modified in a single day. Delhi residents might head house after the test whereas the others had to wait for his or her test outcomes. Many passengers missed their flights.

Dr Siwalik Banerjee, 38, a passenger who was touring from Heathrow to Kolkata by way of Delhi mentioned, “There was a delay in the Air India flight we took over a technical issue, which had a snowball effect on the rest of our journey. We reached Delhi around 12.15 am. Due to long lines, we were tested around 4.30 am. Some had a flight to Kolkata at 7.10 am but the test results came in only at 9 am. So most of them missed their flights. Further, the lounge area was crowded. As a doctor, I was particularly scared since it was very easy to get infected if even one person had the virus.”

Ayan Basu (50), who was on the identical flight, mentioned passengers took over two hours in line only for a photocopy of their passports. “Till the swab, there was no scope of sitting. There was a lot of chaos; our main concern was not time, but the fear of getting infected. There were passengers from Brazil, South Africa and the Middle East. We were all in the same area,” he mentioned.

Airport officers mentioned issues have been barely troublesome to handle as a result of it was the primary day. Since solely transit passengers now have to wait within the ready room, they mentioned there is not going to be a drastic improve within the variety of folks anticipated to be within the ready lounge.

An official mentioned, “Once all procedures are in place, there will be no clashes as passengers on a certain flight will come, get tested and move ahead. Then the next batch will get their procedures done.”

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