Thursday, December 02, 2021

Passengers fume at tedious testing system

Bengaluru: Cumbersome Covid testing procedures at KIA is giving a hard time to passengers travelling from high-risk countries. While foreign returnees with hardly any cellphone internet data have to wait for an email alert about the test results, priority is allegedly being given to Indian currency holders for rapid RT-PCR tests.

Devasandra resident Nirupama, 27, executive with a pharmaceutical firm in the Netherlands, arrived on Lufthansa flight LH 754 from Amsterdam via Frankfurt at 3.02am on Wednesday. “The ground staff gave no briefing to passengers on how or where to head for Covid testing and there were no signs,” she said.

With rapid RT-PCR tests costing Rs 3,000 per person, she claimed passengers with Indian currency were given preference over many carrying international credit cards or opting for online payments. “Many like me who are coming to India after two years due to the pandemic situation didn’t have Indian currency and the testing counter was not accepting foreign cards or even online payment,” she said.

Auriga Research Private Limited, the sole agency conducting Covid tests at KIA, saw their website crashing on Wednesday, possibly due to hundreds accessing the portal. Their helpline for passengers to pre-book RT-PCR test remained ineffective for hours, much to the annoyance of disembarking flyers.

There was more trouble in store for those overseas passengers who didn’t have Indian sim cards and had to use 45 minutes of free internet data option provided by KIA.

02/12/21 Petlee Peter/Times of India

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