Testing delays at KIA leave passengers anxious

The RT-PCR COVID-19 testing facility at KIA in Bengaluru.  

A delay in getting the COVID-19 test results left many passengers who had flown in to Kempegowda International Airport on Wednesday anxious.

With the alert raised with regard to Omicron, a new variant of COVID-19, surveillance activities have been intensified. International passengers are being tested on arrival, even if they possess a negative RT-PCR report.

A statement by the Bengaluru International Airport Ltd. (BIAL) stated that a total of 1,228 international passengers had arrived at the airport from at-risk countries on Wednesday (from midnight to 2 p.m.). Owing to a high volume of passengers who had to undergo RT-PCR testing, the service provider who operates the laboratory at the airport experienced some delays in processing test results.

A spokesperson from BIAL also stated that a delay in one of the flights also contributed to the delay. Due to the influx of passengers, the service provider’s system crashed briefly. “We have ramped up arrangements for testing,” the spokesperson added.

Since late last year, a round-the-clock testing centre has been functioning at the KIA. Usually, the results of Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) is ready within an hour and the regular RT-PCR test result takes around five to six hours. Passengers are made to wait at the lounge until the results are declared.

“In the coming days, the laboratory will be scaling up operations to cater to the increasing volume. We have made adequate seating arrangements for passengers to wait for RT-PCR results. Our teams have been extending all support to the COVID-19 testing laboratory and State government. We have been constantly working closely with all airlines and other stakeholders to minimise inconvenience to passengers,” the BIAL statement added.

Meanwhile, the Health and Family Welfare Services has posted officials round-the-clock to monitor and supervise the surveillance activities at the airport, ensure necessary arrangements are made for passengers to comply with COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. That apart, the officials will also monitor collection of information on arrivals, testing protocols, status of the testing laboratory, besides sending positive samples of travellers from at-risk countries for genome sequencing and shift them immediately to the designated health care facility.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 8:46:33 PM |

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