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Updated on: Thursday, November 25, 2021, 08:42 PM IST

Rapid RT-PCR test needed only for fliers travelling to countries that require testing 6 hours before flight: CSMIA

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport | Photo: Representative Image

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport | Photo: Representative Image

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Mumbai: Amid the soaring prices of the mandatory rapid RT-PCR tests at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, which has caused an uproar amongst the masses, the airport authorities have clarified that only flights going to or via UAE countries needed to undergo the mandatory testing according to the destination country's mandate.

After the passengers flying to Dubai, Sharjah and other UAE countries were asked to take another rapid RT-PCR test, despite having a normal test done 48 hours before the departure, there was a social media uproar, accusing the airport of fleecing passengers in COVID times. Some of the passengers had taken to Twitter to share their ordeal and accused the airport of wrongdoings.

One of the users had taken to Twitter and posted, "#BiggestScam against all international outbound #travellers happening! In the name of #RapidPCRTest charged at ₹4500/- per passenger. Approx 20K Passengers being subject to this totaling almost ₹20L a day collection at #T2Mumbai despite having RTPCR Test."

Another user had posted, "What is the reason for the compulsory COVID test at the airport ( that too at an exorbitant 4500 bucks) when passengers are anyway getting the RT-PCR done a day before departure?? What is the logic or the reason for the same and high cost of it," sharing their ordeal on social media.

Clearing the air about the ₹4,500 rapid RT-PCR test, the CSMIA said in a statement, "The initiative of facilitating the RT-PCR testing at the airport has been undertaken by CSMIA as per the requirements of Govt of India, Govt of Maharashtra & the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) for arrival passengers & as per the destination country / state requirements shared with us by the airlines operating out of CSMIA, for departing passengers."

The statement further read that the CSMIA facilitated the testing by appointing ICMR and NABL approved laboratories to conduct RT-PCR & Rapid PCR tests at the airport. The charges for the regular RT-PCR test are regulated by the Government of Maharashtra. As on date the regular RT-PCR test is offered by Lifenity labs, Suburban Diagnostics & Acu-Mdx Laboratories at CSMIA at an amount of ₹600.

The Rapid PCR test method is, however, offered by Lifenity labs, Suburban Diagnostics & NorthStar labs, using Abbott ‘ID Now™’ & Accula platforms, which offers rapid testing to passengers within 30-40 minutes, and is priced at ₹4,500. Meanwhile, India is in talks with the UAE and has requested health authorities to remove the RT-PCR coronavirus test requirement at the airport.

According to the current guideline by the UAE govt, passengers travelling to UAE are required to carry along with normal RT-PCR test done within 48 hrs of departure, a Rapid RT-PCR test result done at the departure airport within six hours of departure. To provide ease in transition, CSMIA allocated a dedicated entrance gate - Gate 8 for all Dubai & UAE-bound passengers departing from CSMIA & a dedicated area for Rapid RT-PCR testing inside the terminal.

Additionally, dedicated 24x7 RT-PCR sample collecting counters have been stationed at the landside outside Terminal 2, where passengers can give their RT-PCR sample required within 48hrs of their departure, as per the UAE govt requirements. A separate registration area, test area & waiting area has been allocated at Departure Hall of Terminal 2 for Mumbai-UAE passengers availing D-6hrs Rapid PCR test at CSMIA and reports of the same are shared with passengers within 30-40 minutes on email as well as hard copies.

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Published on: Thursday, November 25, 2021, 08:42 PM IST
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