Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Tuesday said his ministry had made all preparations in the face of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus. We are putting emphasis on keeping an eye on passengers coming from the 12 countries considered sensitive for the new variant," he told reporters here.
“Though it will affect flight movement, precaution is necessary, he added. The Union government has issued directives that passengers arriving from South Africa, Botswana and Israel among other countries be screened at the airports, and also asked the states to remain alert. Scindia, meanwhile, also informed that programs will be started to give a fillip to drone technology in Madhya Pradesh.
Airports are gearing up to be the first line of defense against the spread of the virus. The Delhi international airport has made arrangements to accommodate at the airport up to 1,500 international passengers at a time, including those coming from ‘at-risk’ countries, till results of their RT-PCR tests taken after arrival are declared, according to officials. Each passenger who will undergo the RT-PCR test will be charged around Rs 1,700. The amount includes charges for the RT-PCR test, and food and water during their stay at the airport till the test results come, the airport officials said on Tuesday.
Similarly, Chennai Airport has announced that an exclusive corridor has been created at T4 terminal to screen arriving passengers from countries ‘at risk’. It is mandatory for passengers to wait till the RT-PCR test results are out.
The Chhattisgarh government on Monday ordered the setting up of help desks at three airports in the state for effective screening of passengers flying in from abroad in view of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, officials said. The state health department, in a letter to all district collectors, also directed that fresh guidelines for international travelers issued by the Union Health Ministry for tackling the new COVID variant must be followed strictly, a public relations department official said.