The Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata is planning to launch a Rapid PCR test that will deliver the Covid-19 status report of passengers within 15 minutes. According to the director of the airport, C Pattabhi, this system will be launched as soon as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) removes India from the red list and allows people from the country to visit Dubai and other cities there. He informed that HLL Lifecare Ltd, which is a government enterprise, has already set up a Covid-19 testing laboratory at the airport.
The lab was set up in mid-May this year at the old domestic terminal. At present, the laboratory is offering Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) and TrueNat tests for those departing from the domestic airport and arriving from the international wing. It tests about 200 to 300 people in a day.
When Emirates, Fly Dubai and IndiGo resume their flight services to the UAE, the Rapid PCR will be available at the departure wing.
The lab manager at the HLL airport set-up, Praveen Kumar Karn, said about 20 Abbott ID kits have been procured that are capable of testing 80 people in an hour.
Explaining the process, he added that after a passenger registers at the counter in the airport, the swab will be collected and put into a cartridge that will be further inserted into a machine. After the test results arrive, the passenger will be handed over printed copies which will have a QR code. The results will be mailed on their given e-mail id. Only those passengers will be issued boarding passes who clear the test.
Currently flights from UAE are allowed to arrive with passengers but return flights aren’t allowed to carry flyers. UAE along with several others have marked India on the no-fly list in order to stop the spread of Delta mutation of coronavirus.