ICMR has approved Nine systems for molecular testing of SARS-CoV-2

Important-Ministry of Civil Aviation

In continuation to the “Algorithm: Guidelines for International Arrivals dated 28th November 2021” issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare(MoHFW), the following Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs) are being issued for a better understanding of the passengers and to enable them for safe, secure and hassle-free International Air Travel.

Q 1. What kind of RT-PCR tests has been approved by ICMR following systems for molecular testing of SARS-CoV-2 at airports?

Clarification: ICMR has approved the following systems for molecular testing of SARS-CoV-2 (all these systems are considered equivalent to RTPCR). All the labs that would conduct the tests would follow the ICMR/ MoHFW guidelines to ensure genome sequencing for all positive cases.

  1. Open system RTPCR
  2. TrueNat
  3. GeneXpert
  6. Abbott ID Now
  7. Accula by Thermofisher
  8. Rapid RTPCR
  9. CoviDx DirectPlex

Airports are directed by MoCA to facilitate the RT-PCR testing of passengers by extending the required facilities and logistics. 

Q 2. Some travellers excluding from those Countries at risk (as per the latest MOHFW guidelines) would be subject to post-arrival testing at random. Whether they need to wait at the airports till the test result is received? Can they be allowed to leave the airport of entry to reduce the crowding at the airport?

Clarification: Travellers undergoing random sampling may give the sample and be allowed to leave. Now, the random sampling would be limited to 2% as per latest MoHFW guidelines and it would be on a self-paid basis. Airlines/Airports may co-ordinate with the officials of State/UT Governments to select the passenger at random sampling.

Q 3. If the travellers from Countries (excluding those Countries at risk) are transiting through the airports of countries ‘at risk,’ but staying within the airports, can they be exempted from the post-arrival testing based on the self-declaration form?

Clarification: Post-arrival testing can be exempted if a person is travelling from a NOT AT RISK country and has only a transit (without leaving immigration) in AT RISK country before taking the destination flight. However, if the person has travelled to any AT RISK country in the last 14 days, he/she will be asked for post-arrival testing and other additional restrictions, etc.

Q 4. Submission of sample for post-arrival COVID-19 test at the point of arrival (self-paid). Such travellers will be required to wait for their test results at the arrival airport before leaving or taking a connecting flight.

Clarification: This means after the negative results are received, the passengers can take connecting flights to reach their final destination.

Q 5. Can the exit of passengers can be phase-wise as the results are received so that all need not wait till the result is received for every passenger of the particular flight?

Clarification: A passenger can exit the airport or can take connecting flights for the final destination once the negative report is received. He/She need not wait for the report of all the co-passengers.

Image Credit-IATA