In view of the Omicron threat, the Centre on Tuesday made it mandatory for travellers coming in from ‘at-risk’ countries to pre-book their RT-PCR tests which they need to undergo on arrival.
In a notification, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said all international travellers from 'at-risk' countries, arriving at airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad will have to compulsorily pre-book an RT-PCR test from December 20.
As per the health ministry, on the list of ‘at-risk’ countries are European nations, including the UK, in addition to South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Ghana, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Hong Kong and Israel.
Reportedly, the United Kingdom has similar guidelines according to which all passengers arriving in the country need to have made prior booking of RT-PCR tests. If a person fails to book his/her RT-PCR test, he/she is not allowed to board a flight to a British airport.
However, in India, passengers who have not pre-booked their tests will be allowed to board their flight. It is will be the responsibility of the concerned airlines to book tests for such passengers.
How can international travellers from 'at-risk' countries pre-book RT-PCR tests?
The Ministry of Civil Aviation said it will modify its Air Suvidha portal to allow the passengers to mandatorily pre-book the RT-PCR test if they are coming from 'at-risk' countries or have visited 'at-risk' countries in the last 14 days.
To stabilize the system and to ensure that the passengers would not have any problem in pre-booking, payment, etc., it will be implemented in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad in the first phase, the ministry added.
It further requested to issue advisory to all airlines to check mandatory pre-booking of their passengers before boarding the flight. "In case any passenger is having any difficultly in pre-booking, they may not be denied boarding, but it would be the responsibility of the airlines to identify and accompany such passengers to the registration counter at the airport for testing,” the notification added.
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