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Omicron scare: Chennai airport puts up special corridor to isolate returnees from high-risk countries

Sixty-eight passengers who arrived at the Chennai Airport on Wednesday midnight in a Qatar Airlines flight had a first-of-its-kind welcome to receive them.

Published: 02nd December 2021 06:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd December 2021 01:37 PM   |  A+A-

Passengers who arrived at the Chennai Airport in a Qatar Airlines flight waiting at the dedicated corridor | Ashwin Prasath

Express News Service

CHENNAI: 68 passengers who arrived at the Chennai Airport on Wednesday midnight in a Qatar Airlines flight had a first-of-its-kind welcome to receive them. All of them, having come from the ‘at-risk’ countries for the Omicron Covid variant through a transit, were separated from the other passengers and were taken out through a dedicated corridor to an exclusive holding point created for a Covid-19 test.

“It took only 12 hours for the Airport team to come out with this dedicated corridor created at the T4 terminal in the airport to screen passengers arriving from countries that are termed ‘risky’ after airport officials worked throughout the night to adhere to the guidelines,” said Chennai Airport director Dr Sharad Kumar.

“The corridor has televisions, free wi-fi facility, besides a food and beverages section. There are also free telephone and money exchange facilities,” he added. The airport authorities have also put in place Rapid PCR  facilities (which costs Rs 3,400).

Dr Kumar said the PCR test would take only 30 minutes to get the result. While all passengers from European countries, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel or those transiting through the countries will have to undergo the tests, random tests are also conducted on passengers from other countries.

“A minimum of more than two per cent samples are also being taken from those who don’t figure in the high risk category countries,” said Dr Kumar. Initially, there had been complaints from passengers over the nature of tests at the airport and its costs.

A passenger from the United Kingdom complained she had been made to wait for more than an hour for the tests while another from the Netherlands said the officials were unsure of which test they had to conduct. Dr Kumar said the passengers could use the QR code at the airport to register and pay online for the tests. This could reduce the time for the test by an hour, he added.

Checkpoints with Kerala under scanner 
Coimbatore: The health department will increase vigil at 12 inter-State checkpoints across the district to monitor passengers with international travel history – countries that were flagged 'risk' because of the Omicron variant.  Sources said the vigil will be tightened particularly at Walayar and Govindapuram and people screened for international travel history.  An official said, "Travellers arriving through Cochin International Airport will be subjected to screening and those symptomatic would undergo RT-PCR test. They may travel to Coimbatore by road and so, we have planned to verify the vaccination and test status of the travellers’ driver and co-passengers.” 

‘No entry to 18 k’giri spots for unvaxxed’
Krishnagiri:  Around 4.20 lakh eligible beneficiaries are yet to get their Covid-19 vaccine shots and they would be barred from accessing public places until they are vaccinated, said Collector Dr V Jaya Chandra Bhanu Reddy on Wednesday. He warned people that violating this would attract action under the Tamil Nadu Public Health Act, 1939. Addressing media, he said those unvaccinated cannot go to 18 listed public places including ration shops, marriage halls, factories, schools, colleges, cinema halls, playgrounds, shops. , “There are 15.02 lakh people that are eligible for vaccination in the district, of which only 10,86,500 people have taken the first dose,” Jaya Chandra Bhanu Reddy added.

Covid-19 cases in TN

  • New cases 718
  • Deaths 11
  • Tests 1,00,562
  • Tests total 5,43,70,909
  • Total recovered 26,82,943
  • Total deaths 36,492
  • Active cases 8,200


Comments(1)

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  • Dhilip

    Screening should be for every one and depending on the last 2-3 Fortnights of travel history....people could be on transit in certain countries which are not affected but they might have started the journey from SA and Omicron hit countries earlier......
    5 months ago reply
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