File photo of international passengers arriving at Amritsar Airport in Punjab waiting at counters for completion of COVID-19 tests, on December 11, 2021.
File photo of international passengers arriving at Amritsar Airport in Punjab waiting at counters for completion of COVID-19 tests, on December 11, 2021.AAI/Twitter

2% of passengers from abroad to undergo post-arrival testing for COVID-19 at airports: Health Ministry

New Delhi, December 22, 2022

The Government today decided that a sub-section of 2% of the total passengers in flights shall undergo random testing for COVID-19 on arrival at airports in India to minimize the risk of ingress of new variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus in the country.

In a letter to Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Bansal, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that, while the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare is maintaining a close watch over the dynamic situation, it had been decided that the Ministry of Civil Aviation, in coordination with airport operators and Airport Health Offices (APHOs), ensure that the post-arrival tests are conducted.

The decision has been taken in view of the alarmingly high numbers of new cases of COVID-19 infection -- an average of about 5.9 lakh every day during the week ended December 19 -- being reported globally. There is particular concern about the situation in Japan, the United States of America, South Korea, Brazil, France and China, where the numbers of cases are increasing in a sustained manner.

The letter said 2% of passengers in each flight for the post-arrival COVID-19 test shall be identified by the concerned airlines (preferably from different countries.

Such travellers will submit the samples and shall be allowed to leave the airport, the letter said.

"A copy of the positive report sha be shared with Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme at shoc.idsp@ncdv.gov.in by the concerned testing laboratory (besides sharing with the APHOs) to be in turn shared with concerned State/UT for further follow-up action.

"In case any such travellers are tested positive, their samples should be sent for genomic testing at the designated INSACOG laboratory network," the letter said.

This arrangement shall come into practice with effect from 10 am on Saturday, December 24, it said.

"While the testing may be coordinated by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, cost of testing shall be reimbursed by this Ministry on submission of duly certified bills to respective Airport Health Offices (APHOs). Ministry of Civil Aviation is requested that this testing may be done at a subsidized and uniform rate across all international airports," the letter added.

NNN

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