Saturday, January 02, 2021

Negative RT-PCR test must for passengers flying in from UK; testing on arrival too

New Delhi: All passengers coming from the UK when flights resume on January 8 will require a negative RT-PCR report of a Covid test conducted within 72 hours of their respective flights to India. Airlines flying passengers from UK to India will need to check the test report before allowing them to board the aircraft. Flyers will need to submit a self-declaration form on the portal — — at least 72 hours before their scheduled travel.

The health ministry has put in place stricter norms for people flying in from the UK when flights partially resume next Friday and these new rules will be in place till 11.59 pm of January 30, for now. This is being done to control the spread of the new and more infectious Covid mutant found in the UK and then in some other countries too.

Aviation minister H S Puri tweeted on Saturday that flights from India to UK will resume from next Wednesday (January 6) and from UK to India on Friday (January 8).

“30 flights will operate every week. 15 each by Indian and UK carriers. This schedule is valid till January 23, 2021. Further frequency will be determined after review…. All health precautions will be taken. Standard operating procedures have been issued by Union health ministry. Passengers will be tested both before boarding and upon arrival in India. These are valid till January 30, 2021,” the minister stated.

On arrival in India, those flying in from the UK will mandatorily need to undergo a paid RT-PCR test. Passengers testing negative on arrival will be advised 14 days of home quarantine. And, those testing positive will be housed in institutional isolations facilities.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation will ensure proper separation of flights coming from UK to avoid crowding at airports for testing and waiting for result. To ensure stringent following to all protocols, only 15 flights per week by airlines of India and as many by carriers of UK — 30 in all weekly — will be allowed to and from the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad only till January 23, 2021.

“Passengers (coming from UK) testing positive shall be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in a separate (isolation) unit coordinated by respective state health authorities. They would earmark specific facilities for such isolation and treatment and send the positive samples to Indian SARS-COV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) Labs,” the new rules say.

02/01/21 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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