Friday, December 17, 2021

Two years on, Covid-proof air travel remains a challenge at Kolkata airport

Kolkata: In spite of stringent norms in place — a person needs to be double vaccinated or test Covid negative — for flyers, the fact that a Covid-positive boy managed to take a flight has fuelled the concerns that doctors, health experts and travel and trade community have been grappling with over a year — a foolproof checking process of RT-PCR results/vaccination certificates of domestic flyers.

As per the norm, international passengers travelling from at-risk countries or with a travel history of visiting an at-risk nation within a fortnight need to mandatorily appear for an RT-PCR test on arrival and also wait for the report at the airport before being allowed to proceed home or take a transit flight. Those coming from non-risk countries and undergoing RT-PCR test need not wait for the report. They can move out of the airport immediately after submitting the swab sample and the authorities inform them later about the test result, which had precisely happened in this case.

Since November this year, Bengal had made it mandatory for any domestic traveller above the age of two, to either have a double dose vaccination certificate or an RT-PCR negative report conducted within 72 hours to be allowed to fly into Bengal. While many parents have reservations on letting their children go through the stringent RT-PCR swab collection process, as per the rules, none can board a flight to Kolkata without an RTPCR negative report.

17/12/21 Tamaghna Banerjee/Times of India

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