Five flyers Covid positive at Delhi airport on Day One of new testing norms

More than 3,000 passengers who arrived from the UK, South Africa, Brazil, West Asian countries and Europe, gave samples for RT-PCR testing at the Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) till Tuesday evening and five of them tested positive for the virus.

According to the standard operating procedure (SOP) given by the ministry of health and family welfare on February 17, passengers from these high-risk countries will have to get their RT-PCR tests done at the airport before proceeding to home quarantine. Transit passengers will, however, have to wait for six hours until their reports are out.

The new rules were implemented on Monday midnight. Dr Gauri Agarwal, founder-director of Genestrings Diagnostics, which is conducting these tests at the Delhi airport, said between midnight and 6pm, over 3,000 samples were collected. “More flights are yet to land in Delhi from these five regions. The total number of samples is expected to touch 6,000 by the end of the day. All arriving flyers were sent to home quarantine and were informed about their results later,” she said.

Agarwal said five passengers, from among those tested till 6pm, were found to be Covid-19 positive. “They were all in the non-UK flights. They were informed and their contact tracing was initiated, as per protocol, by the authorities concerned,” she said.

Delhi airport operator DIAL (Delhi International Airport Limited) had also made arrangements to ensure that the tests are conducted in a smooth manner.

The new SOP states, “All travellers from UK, Brazil and South Africa on their arrival will give their sample in the designated area and exit the airport. They will be followed up by the state Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP). The concerned state authorities/airport operators will collect and convey the test report to the traveller. If tested negative, they will remain in home quarantine for seven days and will be regularly followed up by the concerned state IDSP. These travellers shall again be tested after seven days and if found negative, released from quarantine, and continue to monitor their health for a further seven days. All those tested positive shall undergo treatment.”

It adds that all other travellers from Europe and the Middle East (other than those in flights originating from Brazil, South Africa and UK) who have to exit the destination airport or take a connecting flight to their final domestic destination will undergo the same protocol but will be advised to self monitor their health for 14 days.

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