Mumbai airport all set to implement health ministry's latest protocols
The city's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) has put in place all necessary measures to implement the health ministry's latest COVID-19 guidelines on international passengers arriving in India, the private airport operator said on Wednesday.
This follows the World Health Organization's announcement that Omicron (B.1.1.529) has been classified as a COVID-19 Variant of Concern, it said.
The new guidelines take effect from Wednesday.
CSMIA said it has made elaborate arrangements, including additional testing and resting facilities, for the safety and convenience of arriving passengers.
Larger waiting and seating areas with necessary amenities, additional counters and booths for registration and sampling, and more ground staff for faster passenger processing are among the many enhanced safety and convenience measures put in place to handle international passengers, it stated.
According to the new guidelines, passengers planning to travel to or through India must submit on the Air Suvidha online portal a self-declaration form with their travel details of the past 14 days, a copy of their passport, a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report no older than 72 hours before their journey, and a declaration of the authenticity of the test report, CSMIA said.
Children under 5 years of age are exempted from both pre-arrival and post-arrival testing unless found symptomatic for COVID-19 on arrival or during the home quarantine period.
CSMIA said all passengers are advised to check the new travel norms well in advance of their journey, the airport operator said.
As regards Mumbai airport, CSMIA said adhering to the latest directive issued by the state government, with effect from December 1, all arriving passengers from high-risk countries will be segregated from passengers arriving from low-risk countries, it stated.
Passengers arriving from at-risk countries will have to undergo mandatory 7-day institutional quarantine and RT-PCR test to be carried out on Days 2, 4 and 7 at the quarantine facility. If any of the tests are found to be positive, the passenger shall be shifted to a hospital. In case all the tests come negative, the passenger will have to undergo a further 7-day home quarantine, CMIA said.
Passengers from any other countries, except the at-risk countries, will have to compulsorily undergo RT-PCR test at CSMIA on arrival and on being found negative will have to undergo 14 days of home quarantine. If found positive, they will be shifted to the hospital.
Adequate RT-PCR testing facility in international arrivals in the form of 48 registration counters and 40 sampling booths while four laboratories for RT-PCR testing/ rapid PCR in international arrivals have been set up.
In addition to standard RT-PCR, 30 rapid PCR machines are available for the passengers having connecting onward flights with short connecting time. This facility will be upscaled further if required, it stated, adding that passengers can pre-book their RT-PCR/ rapid PCR test as well.
For passengers who have not done their pre-booking of RT-PCR test online, QR codes have been displayed at various locations in the arrival corridor, while physical forms for RT-PCR registration are made available to passengers on board with help of airlines which they can fill before disembarking from a flight and thereby avoid queuing for the registration on arrival, CSMIA said.
The airport operator also said a large sitting area for the passengers awaiting their RT-PCR results has been activated with amenities like washrooms, food and beverages.
Passengers are required to be taken to quarantine/ hotel facility as per the state government's guidelines of November 30, 2021, and a dedicated transportation lobby is available and dedicated buses have been made available for the same with help of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, it said.
In the case of an international passenger having a connecting flight to any other airport in India, without leaving the airport at all, the passenger shall undergo an RT-PCR test at the first arrival airport in Maharashtra and only on being found negative will be allowed to board the connecting flight, it said.
In case such a passenger is taking a connecting flight to an airport in Maharashtra, the passenger shall be subjected to quarantine at the first landing airport, CSMIA said.
In the case of domestic air travel, a passenger travelling within Maharashtra will either need to be fully vaccinated or compulsorily carry a negative RT-PCR test within 48 hours of the time of arrival.
In the case of passengers from other states travelling to Maharashtra, a negative RT-PCR test within 48 hours of arrival will be compulsory without exception, it stated.