Delhi airport unveils robust measures to fight mutant coronavirus

DIAL has revamped the Air Suvidha portal and introduced a new Covid-19 RT-PCR test kit at the airport for arriving international passengers

Delhi airport unveils robust measures to fight mutant coronavirus
Testing increased at Delhi airport for new coronavirus variants. Image courtesy: DIAL

The Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) has announced the launch of a revamped Air Suvidha portal and a new Covid-19 RT-PCR test kit at the airport for arriving international passengers.

New guidance for passengers travelling to India was provided by the government on February 17, 2021. The step comes after increasing cases of the new mutant variants of the coronavirus. They have shown increased transmissibility and are driving the pandemic in their countries, especially in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.

What has to be done

For all international passengers arriving in India, the filling up of the self-declaration forms (SDF) on Delhi Airport's website www.newdelhiairport.in has been made mandatory.

The required RT-PCR/molecular test report (test performed within 72 hours of departure) must also be uploaded in the SDF for its completion.

This form would help to classify passengers on UK, European and Middle East flights who would also undergo mandatory RT-PCR tests on arrival.

After taking the test at the airport, the passengers would be allowed to leave and follow government guidelines on quarantine/self-monitoring. Passengers from high-risk countries such as the UK, Brazil and South Africa would also be listed in the SDF. A new field for declaring domestic connections has been added in the Air Suvidha portal.

This would help to introduce new standard operating procedures (SOPs) for domestic transit passengers and would also help in strengthening the monitoring of contacts.

Passengers with death in the family can apply for an exception under the new SOPs and upload the approved application in the SDF in place of the RT-PCR test result.

All other exemption groups have been cancelled with effect from 11.59 pm IST on February 22, 2021. The Delhi airport has redesigned the Air Suvidha portal taking into account the latest SOPs to accommodate these changes as per the guidelines.

Apart from these, all passengers on flights from the UK, Europe and South Africa would have to undergo the mandatory RT-PCR examination, as per the new government SOPs.

Two types of service are available for passengers at the Delhi airport:

1. Regular: Rs 800 per test (at the approved government rate)

2. Premium service: Rs 1,300 for a comfortable, easy and faster premium service. This service would also be available from February 23, 2021, for pre-booking at www.newdelhiairport.in.

Also read: India sounds fresh alert as 3 mutant coronavirus strains hit 145 countries

If a flyer opts for the premium service, he can get assistance in fast-tracking test procedures such as filling out of documents, getting tests done, etc.

According to the order of government officials, those flying in from the UK, South Africa and Brazil, directly or in transit, and having a connecting flight would not be allowed to leave the airport till their RT-PCR test report is negative. Others would be permitted to exit the airport.

Air Suvidha, the first-of-its-kind portal, was launched by the DIAL in August last year, where India-bound foreign passengers were able to complete the required self-declaration forms and also apply online for exemption from the mandatory quarantine phase.

These online forms have been created in collaboration with the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the governments of various states and Union Territories. The facility has been made available to all international arriving passengers from August 8, 2020, in keeping with the MoCA guideline.

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“We have constantly kept the focus of our activities on the safety and convenience of our passengers. Keeping this in view, the Delhi airport keeps on updating the procedures in line with the Government of India’s directive. With the rise in cases of new strains of the Covid-19 virus, the revamped Air Suvidha portal and new RT-PCR test packages at the Delhi Airport will help in keeping a contact tracing of arriving passenger and check its spread in India,” said Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, CEO, DIAL.