In view of the Omicron threat, the Centre has made it mandatory for travellers coming in from ‘at-risk’ countries to pre-book their RT-PCR tests which they need to undergo on arrival. However, passengers who have not pre-booked their tests will be allowed to board their flight. It is will be the responsibility of the concerned airlines to book tests for such passengers.
The UK has similar guidelines according to which all passengers arriving in the country need to have made prior booking of RT-PCR tests. Anybody who fails to do so is not allowed to board a flight to a British airport.
In India, the rule will be effective from December 20. In the first phase, it will be applicable only for international travellers arriving at six airports — Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
A memo issued by the Civil Aviation Ministry stated, “Air Suvidha portal would be modified to allow the passengers to mandatorily pre-book the RT-PCR test if they are coming from the countries ‘at risk’ or have visited ‘at risk’ countries in the last 14 days…to stabilise the system and to ensure that the passengers would not have any problem in pre-booking, payment, etc, it may be implemented in six metro cities, namely, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad in the first phase.”
As per the health ministry, on the list of ‘at risk’ countries are European nations, including the UK, in addition to South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Ghana, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Hong Kong and Israel.
“DGCA is requested to issue advisory to all airlines to check mandatory pre-booking of their passengers before boarding the flight. In case any passenger is having any difficult in pre-booking, they may not be denied boarding, but it would be the responsibility of the airlines to identify and accompany such passengers to the registration counter at the airport for testing,” the memo added.