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New Delhi: As the new travel rules for international arrivals kick-in today, the testing labs at Indira Gandhi International Airport have a monumental task in hand. Union Health Ministry had announced the stringent approach to detect new Covid-19 variant and made it mandatory for identified high-risk countries, the United Kingdom (UK), Middle East, and Europe shall have to self-paid confirmatory molecular tests on arrival will be mandatory.

"The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) shall be valid w.e.f. from February 22," MoHFW in the guidelines said.

According to a report in news agency ANI, the testing process has suddenly increased about 10-fold; earlier about 500-700 international passengers were being tested per day, the lab is now staring at 7,000 plus numbers.

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The operations team comprising data entry operators and sample collection technicians had to be increased 10 folds to handle the large inflow of passengers from the UK, Europe, and the Middle East.

"A massive recruitment drive was launched immediately after the SOP was announced and over 200 staff was recruited overnight and trained over the next two days," Genestrings lab said.

As per record reported at the airport's peak hours, it was identified that between 3 am to 5 am, there will be roughly 1,200 passengers an hour who will undergo mandatory RT-PCR testing.

Meanwhile, India's total tally of Covid-19 cases surpassed 1.10 crore with 14,199 new infections being reported in a day, while active cases registered an increase for the fifth consecutive day, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday. The total coronavirus cases have increased to 1,10,05,850, while the death toll increased to 1,56,385 with 83 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed. Active coronavirus infections in the country increased to 1,50,055.

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