In view of the rising cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, the civil aviation ministry on Tuesday announced that passengers arriving from countries 'at risk' at six major airports will require to mandatorily pre-book their RT-PCR tests.
It will come into effect from December 20. In an office memorandum issued by the ministry under Jyotiraditya Scindia said, "Air Suvidha portal would be modified to allow the passengers to mandatorily pre-book the RT-PCR test if they are coming from the countries 'AT-RISK' or have visited such countries in the last 14 days."
It added, "Link to the concerned airport website would be provided in Air Suvidha platform which would be displayed to passengers while filling up the self-declaration form (SDF)".
The document further stated that in the first phase, the system would be implemented in six metro cities, namely Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, as reported by ANI.
Meanwhile, the ministry also directed the Director General of Civil Aviation (DCGA) to issue an advisory to all airlines to check their passengers' pre-booking to the mandatory RT-PCR test before boarding the flight.
It said, "If a passenger is having difficulty in pre-booking, they may not be denied boarding. However, the airline would be responsible to identify and accompany such passengers to the registration counter at the airport for testing".
India's list of nations 'At-Risk' for Omicron currently includes the United Kingdom, South Africa, Botswana, Brazil, China, Ghana, Hong Kong, Israel, Mauritius, New Zealand, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.
Notably, the emergence of the Omicron variant also pushed the resumption date of regular international commercial flights, which were suspended since March last year. Earlier scheduled to resume from December 15, it has now been pushed to January 31, 2022.