India now provides an on-arrival RT-PCR testing facility for international passengers who have to take a connecting domestic flight to their destination airport. If the test result comes out negative, they can proceed for the onward journey without having to undergo the 7-day institutional quarantine.
However, this testing facility at the popular entry airports like Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai, etc., will initially be carried out on a pilot basis and then extended to other passengers willing to take the RT-PCR test upon arrival.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has released a notification on Wednesday, easing the earlier issued guidelines for international arrivals. As per the earlier guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on August 2, exemption from institutional quarantine would be considered only when the travelers produce a negative RT-PCR report of the test conducted within 96 hours prior to boarding the flight to India.
The latest MoCA guidelines state, “To facilitate such transfer passengers, it has now been decided to allow RT-PCR testing at the entry airport on a pilot basis.”
It has been mentioned in the guidelines that the entry airports would arrange a ‘Sample Collection cum Waiting Lounge’ facility. The sample collection and testing process will strictly follow ICMR and NABL protocols. The test results will be out in a maximum of 6-7 hours. Airports are also instructed to provide an online means to the passengers through which they can apply for the on-arrival RT-PCR test.
It must be noted that all those passengers who have tested negative will only be exempted from the 7-day institutional quarantine and must undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days at home.
India has decided to continue the suspension of the scheduled international passenger flights whose operations have been shelved since March 23. However, special international flights under Vande Bharat Mission and bilateral air bubble pact are being operated to/from India.