The Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru witnessed chaotic scenes on Wednesday, December 1, as new rules implemented by the Union government due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19 kicked in. The airport witnessed long queues as the new guidelines dictated that all international passengers arriving in India should get a mandatory RT-PCR test. Images showed a lack of physical distancing as many passengers rushed to get the RT-PCR test done. According to reports, while four doctors and 25 staffers were deployed there was only one testing counter to screen the passengers.
A few people also took to Twitter to air their grievances.
@BLRAirport As one of the passengers on the very first flight which landed after 00:00hrs, it was horrible. Clearly the lab Auriga Research was not at all prepared. Who can I contact for a refund of my cost for the Rapid PCR test? Results were promised in 1 hr but took 3+ hrsâ€” Raja Andukondan (@randukondan) December 1, 2021
Sir please fix the issue at Bangalore Airport. Seems like laws are being made without thinking about implementation. What's worse is the airport queues might end up becoming a super spreader event for Omicron. Just let people take RT-PCR tests, go home and isolate until resultsâ€” Yes Shreyas (@Yes_shreyas) December 1, 2021
Chance of getting exposed to covid is more during waiting for the result of Test on Arrival @BLRAirport Please can we Relook into guidelines for better implementation #COVID19 #OmnicronVariant and avoid close contacts #bangaloreAirport @mla_sudhakarâ€” Naveen Andanur (@AndanurNaveen) November 30, 2021
In an advisory on December 1, the Bengaluru airport said, â€śThere were a total of 1228 international passengers who arrived at Bengaluru airport from at-risk countries on December 1, between 12 am and 2 pm. Owing to a high volume of passengers who had to undergo RT-PCR testing, the service provider which operates the laboratory at Bengaluru airport experienced some delays today in processing test results.â€ť
â€śIn the coming days, the laboratory will be scaling up operations to cater to the increasing volume. We have made adequate seating arrangements for passengers to wait for RT-PCR results. Our teams have been extending all the necessary support to the COVID-19 testing laboratory and Government of Karnataka staff. We have been constantly working closely with all airlines and other stakeholders to minimise inconvenience to passengers. We appreciate your patience and understanding on this front,â€ť the advisory added.
Passenger Advisory: Our teams have been extending all the necessary support to the COVID-19 testing laboratory and GoK staff. We appreciate your patience and understanding on this front. #BLRAirport pic.twitter.com/TMfH383VvVâ€” BLR Airport (@BLRAirport) December 1, 2021
The current guidelines for all international passengers coming into Karnataka stipulates that they should have a negative RT-PCR report. The test should be conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey. Each passenger shall also submit a declaration with respect to authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution in case of violation.
Passengers originating or transiting from the 'at risk' countries shall be informed by the airlines that they will undergo post-arrival testing, and will be isolated if the results return positive. All passengers from these countries will have to undergo home quarantine for seven days, following which a re-test will be conducted on the eighth day. If the results return positive, the samples will be sent for genomic sequencing.
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