Vijayawada: The International Airport here is in desperate need of a Rapid PCR test facility as it receives nine flights per week under the Vande Bharat Mission carrying hundreds of travellers from abroad, including from Omicron-hit nations. The Centre has, meanwhile, offered the Visakhapatnam International Airport such a facility.
The state health authorities at the Vijayawada airport are carrying out RT-PCR tests on all international travellers arriving from ‘at risk’ nations and at a random two per cent on those arriving from non-risk nations. Problem is, it takes several hours for the release of the test reports. Hence, travellers from non-risk nations are being allowed to go away after giving their samples for a test.
In case they are tested positive, they would be contacted and advised further tests like genome sequencing. Those from ‘at risk’ nations have to wait until their test results are out.
The airport authorities say Rapid PCR test facility will help them carry out the test and get the result in 15 to 30 minutes. The RT-PCR test takes four to six hours to produce result.
The Airports Authority officials have urged the AP government to arrange the Rapid PCR test facility at Vijayawada airport, saying large numbers of domestic flights are also operational here.
As of now, a ban exists on international travel due to Omicron. Hence, there is no need for carrying out Covid19 tests on outgoing passengers. If outgoing international flights resume, then such passengers too would require tests at the airport.
Vijayawada International Airport director Rama Rao said, “We received a traveler from ‘at risk’ nation Brazil last week and he tested Covid negative.”
Meanwhile, Visakhapatnam International Airport is getting Rapid PCR test facility shortly. Airport director Srinivasa Rao said, “Based on our request, the Centre has agreed to provide Rapid PCR test facility at our airport and we will issue a work order to the HLL Lifecare Ltd soon to arrange the facility.”