New Delhi: In the wake of the government’s directive to conduct mandatory RT-PCR testing for all passengers and crew arriving from the United Kingdom, the organisation tasked with conducting Covid-19 tests at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, Genestrings Labs co-director Dr Gauri Agarwal said on Tuesday that their team has been doubled to test passengers.
“Yesterday, we received the news that all passengers and the crew arriving from the UK will be tested for Covid-19. GMR, the company operating the Indira Gandhi International Airport, made all arrangements in the night in another ramp apart from the existing testing centre at the airport. We have doubled our team for the purpose,” Dr Agarwal told ANI.
She said that five out of 266 passengers who landed by the first flight from the UK yesterday tested positive for Covid-19.
“The first flight landed at 10 pm yesterday in which there were 266 passengers out of whom 5 came out as COVID-19 positive. The positive samples have been sent to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for genome sequencing. This is to be done to identify the coronavirus strain,” she said.
She further said that there has been no positive case as of now in the second flight that landed earlier today at 6 am.
“The second flight landed at 6 am today in which there has been no positive case as of now. Today there is a flight that is going to arrive in the night expectedly with 500-plus passengers. No flights will be allowed after today night up to December 31,” she said.
Dr Agarwal added: “We were already testing passengers through our company. Genestrings Labs is giving the fastest reports within four hours to passengers. For UK passengers, we have earmarked a separate space because of the fear of the new coronavirus strain which has a high transmission rate according to the reports received from the UK.”
Earlier, the Ministry of Civil Aviation on Monday had announced in the light of the new strain of coronavirus found in the UK that the flights from and to the UK stand temporarily suspended from December 23 to 31, 2020 or till further orders.
The government has also issued a direction that all the passengers coming from the UK during the intervening period from December 21 to 23 will have to undergo RT-PCR tests at the airports of arrival.