Wednesday, May 05, 2021

You May Not Need RT-PCR Tests for Domestic Travel, if ICMR's Advice gets Accepted

Travellers and other travel sector players have welcomed one of the recommendations offered by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in its latest advisory for COVID-19 testing during the second wave of the pandemic.

In its May 4 advisory, the ICMR has recommended that ‘the need for RTPCR test in healthy individuals undertaking inter-state domestic travel may be completely removed to reduce the load on laboratories’.

While the efficacy of the RT-PCR test as a pandemic containment measure cannot be denied, the mandatory production of negative COVID-19 test reports by travellers is proving to be a hurdle for most. The biggest problem being getting the test reports on time, to meet the mandatory 48-hour or 72-hour deadline.

Apart from leisure travellers, even those compelled to undertake inter-state travel for any exigency are also faced with similar dilemma. Many states have not only made the negative reports mandatory for those travelling by air but also for those travelling by road and rail.

With the spurt in pandemic cases, authorised testing centres are woefully short of staff and testing kits. Although many airlines have tied up with private healthcare providers to ease the testing woes of passengers, even those organisations are said to be failing to meet the deadline for sample collection and delivery of test reports. Hence the removal of the clause will likely reduce the travel woes to a large extent.

05/05/21 Outlook

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