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One more COVID testing facility likely at airport soon

Chennai: The Airports Authority of India may soon set up one more COVID-19 testing facility at Chennai airport for arriving passengers.

A leading private hospital’s facility may be installed on the airport premises later this week or early next week with staff for collecting samples of passengers who may want to get tested. For many months now, Health Department staff have been collecting samples from international passengers landing in the city.

But now, any international passenger who arrives in Chennai will need to produce a certificate that indicates he tested negative for COVID-19 and this should have been done 96 hours before arrival. Officials of AAI said they have been making arrangements for this facility now.

“The Health Department staff are anyway present to collect samples for any passenger who has to get tested on arrival,” an official said.

“There has been a discussion to set up another testing facility too here. It could be useful when a passenger comes with a certificate that is old or happens to come without one. In some flights, there are a few passengers whose test report shows it has exceeded the 96-hour time limit and they can get it done here. We need an isolation room for such passengers and are in the process of setting it up now,” the official said. There are passengers who come to Chennai airport for transit and if they need a certificate and want to have themselves tested, it can be helpful, officials said.

Right now, all international air passengers arriving here will need an e-pass. But airlines recently pointed out an issue, saying these passengers had international mobile phone numbers and hence don’t get the OTP.

“So, we have suggested that instead of phone numbers, the option of e-mail ID may be given henceforth to do away with this issue,” he added. – The Hindu

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