Cause for concern: Telangana yet to decide on testing domestic air travellers

While random RT-PCR tests are being conducted on two per cent of international flyers, there are no such tests for domestic passengers. 

Published: 30th December 2021 07:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th December 2021 07:35 AM   |  A+A-

COVID Testing

For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Even as Omicron cases are on the rise in Delhi and other places, the Telangana government is yet to take measures to control its possible spread from domestic passengers arriving at the RGI Airport. While random RT-PCR tests are being conducted on two per cent of international flyers, there are no such tests for domestic passengers. 

Of the 50,000 passengers who arrive at the RGIA per day, over 46,000 are domestic flyers and most of them are from Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. 

“As per the Telangana government, there is no requirement for RT-PCR (tests),” says RGIA Twitter handle, in response to queries regarding tests from domestic passengers. States like West Bengal, Delhi, Maharashtra and Karnataka have already put up some restrictions on domestic arrivals. 

In Maharashtra, a passenger, if not fully vaccinated, needs to produce an RT-PCR negative certificate issued within 72 hours. Similar is the case with West Bengal. Some states have also come up with new SOPs and also placed restrictions at checkpoints on highways. 

But Telangana, which has 15 checkpoints at the borders it shares with other states, is yet to issue guidelines or instructions to officials to impose restrictions. 

During the first two Covid-19 waves, a team of officials from RTA, police, health and revenue departments used to conduct rapid tests on passengers. “No specific instructions have been given to us and everything is going on like as on normal days,” said an RTA official. 

On the other hand, Railways, which like other public transport operators faced huge losses during the first and second waves, is now only emphasising on ‘Covid appropriate behaviour’ and finds ‘Omicron variant’ as a mere ‘rumour’. 

In its December 22 tweet, the Ministry of Railways said: “Do not pay heed to rumours about Omicron variant. Follow Covid appropriate behaviour for your safety and get vaccinated.” The Ministry continues to urge people to follow it, without referring to the new variant.


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