On-arrival test to continue at Tiruchi airport

The district administration has made it clear that on-arrival RTPCR test is compulsory for foreign travellers from high-risk countries to come out of the Tiruchi international airport in the wake of reservations expressed passengers over being “forced” to stay put at the airport until the declaration of the test results.

The inbound passengers from overseas countries were allowed, until recently, to land at the airport if they had certificate of RTPCR results testing negative for COVID-19. After the spread of Omicron variant was reported, the authorities have issued guidelines making it necessary for inbound passengers from high risk countries, including Singapore, to take the RTPCR test at Tiruchi airport itself.

They are allowed to leave the airport once the results show negative status. If the results turn out to be positive, health officials admit the infected air passengers to K.A.P. Viswanatham Medical College Hospital in the city. The swab of the patients will subsequently be sent to a laboratory in Chennai for ruling out the presence of Omicron variant.

According to a rough estimate, about 500 passengers arrive at the airport from Singapore daily. Since Singapore is among the high-risk countries, all passengers from there are subjected to RTPCR test. They will have to bear the expenses of the test. While it costs ₹600 for an RTPCR test, they are required to pay ₹3,000 for a rapid RTPCR test.

The requirement has triggered a strong reaction from the passengers who say they have been forced to wait inside the airport for about seven hours to know the results. Besides being costly, the exercise disrupts their programme after landing at the airport. There have been instances of irked passengers arguing with officials at the airport.

However, the Tiruchi district administration has made it clear that there is no question on withdrawing the on-arrival RTPCR test.

Collector S. Sivarasu told The Hindu that health officials had been asked to follow the standard safety and precautionary guidelines issued by the government on screening inbound passengers. They had to undergo RTPCR test. Steps had been taken to declare the results of the test as early as possible. Three private laboratories had set up counters at the airport to collect swab samples from the passengers. They could choose rapid RTPCR test for knowing the results in about an hour.

“Tiruchi has a good connectivity from the Middle East and Southeast Asian countries. We subject passengers from high-risk countries for Omicron. It is to effectively check the spread of the new variant. We hope each and every passenger understands the importance of the exercise,” said Mr. Sivarasu.

Passengers from non-risk countries had been subjected for the on-arrival test on a random basis. Only 2% of the passengers were required to undergo the test, he added.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 6:04:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/on-arrival-test-to-continue-at-tiruchi-airport/article37841369.ece

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