In order to contain the spread of the Omicron variant, the government has mandated that all passengers arriving in India from at-risk countries pre-book their on-arrival RT-PCR tests for Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata airports. By Eshita Srinivas
As countries around the world tighten restrictions due to concern over the Omicron variant, the Civil Aviation Ministry of India has revised their guidelines for international passengers. Those coming in from at-risk countries and those who have visited at-risk countries in the last 14 days from the time of departure will need to pre-book their on-arrival RT-PCR tests. Currently, this applies to six airports, namely Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Kolkata and the rule is said to come into effect from December 20. However, even if a person is unable to do so, they will not be denied boarding their flight, according to a report by the Business Standard.
Passengers can pre-book RT-PCR tests using the Air Suvidha portal
#TravelAlert: As per circular dated 14 Dec, 2021, issued by @MoCA_GoI Govt.of India, international passengers arriving from or having visited Countries ‘At Risk’ in last 14 days must pre-book their #RTPCR test. This will come into effect from 20 Dec, 2021. pic.twitter.com/DtS69wmGZn
— Kolkata Airport (@aaikolairport) December 15, 2021
In order to pre-book the RT-PCR test, passengers would need to go through the Air Suvidha portal, which will be modified to make the process smooth and easy. The link to the concerned airport website will be displayed to the passengers who will need to file a self-declaration form, according to a report by India Today. Detailed below is the steps you’d need to follow to pre-book your RT-PCR test before arriving at the airport of your destination.
1. Go to the official website for the international airport of the city you’re visiting.
2. Look for the “Book Covid-19 Test” option on the top panel.
2. Choose international arrival from the drop down.
3. Fill in all the required details such as name, email ID, and passport number.
4. Choose the RT-PCR option (you could also opt for rapid PCR)
5. Follow the instructions displayed on the screen and hit submit to book the slot.
The new guidelines apply to passengers from at-risk countries
As per GoI circular dated Dec 14, 2021, international passengers arriving from or having visited ‘Countries at Risk’ must pre-book their #RTPCR test. This will come into effect on Dec 20, 2021. #BLRAirport @MoCA_GoI @DHFWKA #Staysafe #Travelsafe @JM_Scindia pic.twitter.com/KZpGJ8YJG1
— BLR Airport (@BLRAirport) December 14, 2021
This applies to all passengers who are either coming in from or have visited the following countries in the past 14 days as per a report by the Indian Express.
1. South Africa
9. New Zealand
10. Hong Kong
A regular test costs INR 500, while a rapid test costs INR 3,500
A regular RT-PCR test will cost passengers INR 500, the results of which will be available in six to eight hours. A rapid PCR test, meanwhile, will cost INR 3,500 and the results of the same will come through in 30 minutes to an hour and a half. All travellers going to or through the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi can avail this facility, according to a report by News 18.
The mandate might extend to all airports if the COVID-19 situation worsens
The Aviation Ministry added in a memo that this is the first phase of the mandate and only applies to six major airports. “To stabilize the system and to ensure that the passengers would not have any problem in pre-booking, payment etc, it may be implemented in six metro cities, namely, Delhi, Mumbai Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad in the first phase,” it said according to a report by the Mint. However, this might be extended to all airports in the country in the days to come, if the situation around the Omicron variant worsens.