Omicron: After Centre’s New Rules for International Passengers, A Ramped Up Chennai Airport

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The Chennai airport has created an ‘exclusive corridor’ to screen passengers arriving in Tamil Nadu from ‘at-risk’ countries. The authorities have made seating arrangement for 450 passengers at a time as it is mandatory for travellers to wait till their RT-PCR test results are out.

The airport authorities stepped up screening after India’s new rules for international passengers kicked in amid rising global concerns over omicron. The Centre has issued separate protocols for travellers arriving from countries where the omicron variant has been detected. It involves detailed guidelines on testing, sampling, and quarantine of cases detected at the airport, if any.

HERE’S HOW RAMPED UP CHENNAI AIRPORT WILL LOOK:

• An “exclusive corridor” at T4 terminal to screen arriving passengers from countries at risk.

• The facility can seat 450 passengers at a time as it is mandatory for passengers to wait till the RT PCR test results are out.

• The facility for registration for RT- PCR tests, sample collection and payment a is provided in the same level.

• Exclusive space is earmarked for each facility to rule out any possibility of crowding and to ensure smooth movement inside the facility.

• A host of passenger conveniences are also arranged at T4 terminal, which includes F&B outlets, baby feeding rooms and money exchange facility.

• Other amenities include entertainment screens, free wi-fi, free telephone and beverage vending machines.

• Information displays with latest guidelines are in place to sensitise arriving passengers.

The Centre has said that if a passenger from ‘at-risk’ nation is tested negative, he/she will still have to undergo home quarantine for seven days and get re-tested on the eighth day. The passenger also needs to monitor their health for the next seven days, according to the new guidelines.

Kiosk at Chennai airport for RT-PCR test. (News18)

The guidelines for those testing positive from these countries states that travellers found to be infected in the initial test or on repeat testing, will be admitted at a separate isolation facility while their sample will be sent for genomic testing. The treatment shall be conducted as per standard protocols.

The WHO, in its latest guidance to authorities and travellers, said that people over 60 years of age who are not fully vaccinated or do not have proof of previous SARS-COV-2 infection and those with underlying health conditions should be advised to postpone travel as they are at higher risk of disease and death.

First reported in southern Africa a week ago, the variant has brought global alarm, led to travel bans, and highlighted the disparity between massive vaccination pushes in rich nations and sparse inoculation in the developing world.

National authorities in countries of departure, transit and arrival may apply a multi-layered approach to mitigate risk so as to delay or reduce importation or exportation of the Omicron variant, the WHO said on Tuesday.

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