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Relief for fliers from abroad, no more random Covid testing of passengers

However, the earlier advice for precautionary measures in the context of Covid-19 should be followed by airlines and international travellers, the Union health ministry has said

Sanjay Mandal | Published 20.07.23, 07:38 AM
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Representational image

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The Union health ministry has further eased Covid curbs, withdrawing the rule requiring 2 per cent of the passengers arriving from abroad to undergo the RT-PCR test at the point of entry.

“Taking note of prevalent Covid-19 situation and the significant achievements made in Covid-19 vaccination coverage across the globe, the Union Health Ministry has further eased guidelines for international travelers in context of Covid-19,” an update on Covid-19 issued by the health ministry on Wednesday says.

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“Vide these new guidelines, which shall come into effect from 0000 hrs (IST) of July 20, 2023, the earlier requirements of RT-PCR based testing of a random 2% subset of international travellers to India, now stand dropped.”

However, the earlier advice for precautionary measures in the context of Covid-19 should be followed by airlines and international travellers, the ministry has said.

These include in-flight announcements about precautionary measures, including wearing of masks and physical distancing.

Any passenger with symptoms of Covid-19 during travel should be isolated and all passengers should preferably be fully vaccinated against the disease, the guidelines state.

At the Calcutta airport, 60 to 70 passengers arriving from abroad were undergoing the RT-PCR test daily till Wednesday, said an official at the airport.

“In the past seven days, three passengers from abroad had tested positive for Covid-19,” the official said. “The passengers have been informed about the result and advised isolation.”

A counter was set up at the arrival section, near the immigration counters, where the passengers randomly selected for the Covid test would give their swab samples.

Earlier, passengers arriving from other countries had to wait for hours at the airport before the results were available.

“Now, passengers would give their samples and leave. The results were communicated to them and the authorities concerned,” said the airport official.

The counter will remain closed from Thursday.

Tour operators said the move would further boost international travel during the Puja season.

“This year, the demand for travel out of Calcutta has been higher compared with last year. The withdrawal of the testing guideline will bring relief to many who travel to Calcutta during the Puja and also those who go to international destinations during the holiday season,” said Anil Punjabi, chairman, east, Travel Agents Federation of India.

Last updated on 20.07.23, 07:52 AM
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