International passengers, who have to take connecting flights from Mumbai, will have to undergo reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests for Covid-19 at the airport on arrival, fresh guidelines issued by the state government on Sunday said.
“They (passengers) can get tested and will be allowed to take connecting flights on having a negative test report,” the guideline states. Those found positive may not be allowed to take the connecting flight and sent for institutional quarantine in Mumbai, it further reads.
The state government has also advised passengers to book connecting flights accordingly, preferably with a time gap of at least 8-12 hours, as an RT-PCR test takes 7 to 8 hours to generate the report.
The charges for the RT-PCR tests have been capped at Rs 2,200 and will be borne by passengers. Currently, the testing facility is available only for transit passengers who want to take an onward connecting flight and do not have Covid-19 test reports with them.
On Sunday, the process of collecting samples for RT-PCR tests began at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, officials said. Mumbai airport is the second in the country to announce Covid-19 testing facilities after the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi.
On September 2, the Civil Aviation Ministry had allowed international passengers to take onward flights after landing in India, and issued guidelines for entry airports to conduct RT-PCR tests for passengers who did not have Covid-19 negative test reports.
Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Sunday revoked its decision on mandatory institutional quarantine for Covid-19 patients aged above 50 years. The decision was taken at a review meeting headed by the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday.
On August 20, BMC’s executive health officer, Dr Mangala Gomare, had issued guidelines to all assistant commissioners stating “no home isolation should be allowed” for Covid-19 patients aged above 50 years, irrespective of their symptoms and co-morbidities. The guideline was later revised and stated only “asymptomatic patients with comorbidity and above the age of 50 years will be persuaded not to observe home quarantine in the interest of their own well-being”. It further said asymptomatic patients above 50 years would be allowed to observe quarantine at home “if they wish to” do so.
Now the civic body has directed all ward officials to keep a track of Covid-19 patients aged above 50, and consult family physicians to ensure that such patients got immediate medical attention when needed. “The decision to admit all patients above 50 years was taken to monitor them from the beginning and screen them daily. There are several patients who are seeking admission when their condition turns critical,” a health officer said.
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