On Tuesday, the central government made it mandatory for international passengers to pre-book their RT-PCR tests. This rule, in its first phase, will be implemented in six metro cities in the country, including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. It only applies to passengers who are coming from an 'AT RISK' country or have visited one in the last 14 days. The new system will come into effect from December 20, giving passengers enough time to complete the procedure.
'Air Suvidha' platform to be modified to execute the change
Apart from Mumbai, the rule is applicable at the Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad airports. Passengers will be able to use the Ministry of Civil Aviation's 'Air Suvidha' platform to pre-book their tests. A link to the concerned airport will be made available to the passengers on the portal, while they fill their self-declaration form. All airlines will be advised to check for the mandatory pre-booking before boarding. A passenger who has trouble in pre-booking may be allowed to board the flight, however, in such cases, it will be the airline's responsibility to identify and accompany the passenger to the registration counter at the airport for testing upon arrival.
Pre-booking to ensure precaution
The compulsory pre-booking will make sure that passengers are not able to avoid getting tested upon arrival, and make the testing process more efficient for the airport authorities. It will help tackle the complains of delays and chaos rising because of the RT-PCR tests at Mumbai Airport. Such precautionary measures are necessary, as the WHO has warned that the Omicron variant is spreading at an unprecedented rate and not enough is being done to contain it. Moreover, Maharashtra now has the most number of cases in the country, with two more fully-vaccinated people testing positive on Monday.