Amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country, Railways said those arriving in West Bengal by train must carry a negative RT-PCR report for a test conducted within 72 hours of the departure of the train.
West Bengal is the newest among several states which has made it mandatory for passengers to carry negative RT-PCR tests.
The Central Railway in a statement said the West Bengal government has issued an advisory to train passengers regarding the same.
"Now, the Government of West Bengal have issued an advisory to train passengers to carry negative RT-PCR test report for a test conducted within 72 hours of train departure," the Central Railway said.
Passengers are advised to follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour while boarding, travelling and, at the destination, it added.
The Central Railway further said that state governments have issued a travel advisory for passengers arriving by long-distance trains in their respective states. "The latest available State-wise advisory is available on website, http://contents.irctc.co.in/en/stateWiseAdvisory.html. Passengers travelling in long-distance trains are requested to check the advisory and follow covid-19 appropriate behaviour for their safety and safety of others," it added.
The West Bengal government in a letter to the Railways said that considering such an alarming rise in cases and in order to ensure that the chain of transmission of COVID-19 virus is broken, the state government has decided to make negative RT-PCR report mandatory for train passengers arriving in West Bengal.
"Considering such alarming rise of cases in this pandemic situation and in order to ensure that the chain of transmission of Covid virus is broken, I am to inform that, as per the provisions of section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, and in accordance with the intensive action and strategic areas of intervention identified in paras 6 of the aforesaid order of the National Disaster Management Authority, the state government has decided to make it mandatory for all long-distance train passengers coming to West Bengal from outside the state to possess an RT-PCR negative test report for a test conducted within 72 hours of such train departure. It is requested that such restrictions may be imposed with immediate effect for a period of two weeks," wrote HK Dwivedi, Additional Chief Secretary, Home Affairs Department, West Bengal, in a letter to the Railways.
"Notwithstanding such RT-PCR negative report, proper thermal and health screening of all passengers must also be conducted by the railway staff before boarding," he added.
West Bengal, which went to polls last month, has been witnessing a massive surge in coronavirus infections and at present, has 1,21,872 active COVID-19 cases.
(With inputs from ANI)