The first international passenger who tested positive for Covid upon arrival at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Hyderabad on December 1, the day Centre’s new guidelines came into effect in the wake of the emergence of the Omicron strain, has tested negative for the new variant.
Telangana Director of Public Health Dr G Srinivasa Rao on Monday informed that the samples of the 35-year-old woman, a native of Ranga Reddy district who arrived from the UK on a British Airways flight, has tested negative for the Omnicron variant. The results of 12 other samples, of passengers who have so far tested positive for Covid, will be known by Monday evening, he informed.
As of December 5, a total of 1,443 passengers have arrived at RGIA from “at-risk” countries. Of them, 13 passengers had tested positive for Covid and were sent to isolation and treatment at Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences, Gachibowli.
RGAI handles 12 flights in a week from high-risk nations. British Airways operates three direct flights from London, while Air India operates two direct flights. Singapore Airlines and Scoot operate three and four services to Singapore every week.
Dr Rao on Sunday urged people to get their vaccinations and said Covid-19 cases are likely to spike by mid-January 2022 and might peak in February. He urged people to ensure mask compliance even though the state was well-equipped to handle a surge in Covid cases.
The GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL), in a statement on Monday, said that it has made all necessary arrangements following the latest guidelines for passenger convenience. Covid-19 testing booths at the international arrival hall pre-immigration and thermal scanners at all arrival gates have been installed. Appropriate signages are placed at strategic locations to guide passengers, it said.
Passengers can pre-book an RT-PCR test on the airport’s website or the designated lab’s website before their arrival. An RT-PCR test costs Rs 750 while a Rapid RT-PCR test costs Rs 3900. The rapid test lets a passenger have the test result in 2 hours instead of around 6 hours in case of a regular test.
A dedicated waiting area with adequate seating arrangements for the arrival passengers and facilities of F & B, Forex exchange, payment counters are taken care of given the wait time for the test result. An additional waiting area with all necessary facilities is also arranged for passengers with reduced mobility.
After it came to light that mapmygenome, the lab at the airport designated to conduct RT-PCR tests, was charging Rs 999 for a regular RT-PCR test and Rs 4,500 for a Rapid RT-PCR test, the state Health Department had directed the airport health authorities to comply with state’s prescribed rates for RT-PCR tests. While the state government has fixed Rs 500 as the maximum rate for an RT-PCR test, the maymygenome lab on Sunday lowered its rate to Rs 750 from Rs 999.