As Omicron cases continue to grow in India, the government has issued new travel rules for passengers arriving from "at-risk" nations. From Monday onward, travellers arriving at international airports across six major cities in India will be required to pre-book their RT-PCR tests. These airports include Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. As per reports on Monday, India's Omicron tally has touched 171, with Maharashtra and Delhi recording the highest number of cases. A majority of cases have had travel history from at-risk nations or came in contact with those who did.
Does everyone need mandatory-pre booking of RT-PCR test?
Only passengers arriving from nations deemed "at-risk" for the Omicron variant and those who have travelled to these countries in the past 14 days will be required to pre-book the RT-PCR test.
What is the need for pre-booking?
At present, international airports across India are managing a large volume of incoming passengers from at-risk nations. Passengers can opt for either rapid antigen testing or RT-PCR testing, the most reliable tests for detecting Covid-19. However, It took anywhere between one to eight hours for passengers to get the results, causing a huge pile-up and delays at airports. Pe-booking helps cut down the waiting time and allows for better management.
How many airports is the rule applicable at?
Currently, the rule is only applicable at six international airports including the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai, the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, the Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru, the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata and Chennai International Airport. According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, this is the first step of the new protocols to contain the spread of Omicron, a new variant of Sarv-CoV-2 that. The ministry plans to implement similar rules across all international airports once the mechanism is in place.
How to pre-book your RT-PCR test
The facility to pre-book RT-PCR tickets will soon be available on the official 'Air Suvidha' portal and can be booked digitally. As of now, passengers from at-risk nations or those having travelled there in the past14 days can pre-book their tests from the official websites of the airports they are travelling to. The passengers will be required to fill in some personal details and the bookings can even be cancelled or rescheduled. A routine RC-PCR test costs Rs 500 while the Rapid PCR tests cost Rs 3,500.
(With PTI inputs)