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Covid-19 testing facility at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (Photo: ANI)
Covid-19 testing facility at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (Photo: ANI)

Delhi: DIAL launches country's first Covid-19 testing facility at an airport

The testing facility will initially handle up to 2,500 samples per day and if required, the capacity can later be ramped up to 15,000 samples per day, an official said

New Delhi: Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) on Saturday launched country’s first airport Covid-19 testing facility at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi for arriving international passengers.

Those who wish to avoid a queue can book a slot via the airport's website. Since the testing process is expected to generate a sample's result in around 6 hours, passengers with connecting flights are advised to keep an 8-10 hour window. Those who test negative are exempted from institutional quarantine, but those who test positive will either be moved to a hospital, or home or institutional isolation. The objective of the authorities is to separate infected passengers from the rest to prevent further spread of the disease.

The Covid-19 testing facility at the Delhi international airport will initially handle up to 2,500 samples per day in mid-September and if required, the capacity can later be ramped up to 15,000 samples per day, a top official of Genestrings Diagnostic Center stated, which was reported by PTI earlier this week.

Last Friday, DIAL on Friday said it has set up a Covid-19 testing facility at the multi-level car parking area of Terminal 3, in collaboration with Genestrings Diagnostic Center, for arriving international passengers who have to take connecting domestic flights.

"We've equipped the lab to handle up to 2,500 samples per day in the initial days. We're ready to quickly ramp-up our testing capacity multiple folds of up to 15,000 tests per day in this 3,500 Sq. Ft. facility," said Dr Rajat Arora, Director, Genestrings Diagnostic Center.

The test will cost a passenger 2,400, as mandated by the Delhi government, he told PTI.

"DIAL & GMR management are working closely with the Ministry of Health to establish this SOP (standard operating procedure) which will be well-defined before commencing the lab operations, mid-September," Arora noted.

GMR group-led DIAL operates and maintains the Delhi international airport.

"Unlike quite a few tests on arrival facilities across the globe, there are two key differentiators that we have brought about here at India's first on-arrival testing lab at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA)," Arora noted.

Firstly, this is not just a collection centre, but rather an actual testing facility has been created on-site at the airport, he explained.

Secondly, "we've given a time commitment of reporting within 6 hours of sample collection which is going to be one of the fastest anywhere in the world for RT-PCR tests", he mentioned.

Arora said the company would be providing passengers with the option of online booking and payment to minimise "touch transactions which may otherwise lead to further transmission of the infection".

The Civil Aviation Ministry had on Wednesday said that international passengers who have to take connecting domestic flights after landing in India will have the option of getting themselves tested for COVID-19 at the entry airports.

If the RT-PCR test result is negative, the international passenger will be allowed to board his or her connecting domestic flight and he or she will not need to undergo any institutional quarantine, the ministry's order said.

An international passenger who does not have a COVID-negative result certificate from a test done not more than 96 hours prior to the journey, and does not opt for an on-arrival testing facility at the entry airport, will have to compulsorily undergo seven-day institutional quarantine followed by seven-day home quarantine.

On August 2, the Union Health Ministry had said if an international passenger has a negative result from an RT-PCR test done 96 hours prior to the journey, he or she will not need to undergo institutional quarantine in India.

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