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Kolkata airport to double check foreign passengers for Mu variant


Ashok Chatterjee

Kolkata (The Hawk): There was a meeting with health state experts at the state health headquarters, Swasthya Bhaban, to decide on a new protocol for the international travelers arriving in Kolkata through many foreign flights touching down at Netaji Subhash Bose International airport.

International passengers coming from particular seven countries will have to undergo RT-PCR for Covid-19 on arrival in Kolkata, irrespective of negative test report before boarding/ completed vaccination, as per ministry of health and family welfare directive, like what is already being done with passengers from/transiting through UK or Brazil.

The newly added countries are NZ, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Botswana, China, Bangladesh and South Africa.

At the meeting the health officials also urged the airport officials to be extra cautious about passengers coming from Bangladesh, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Botswana, China, Bangladesh and South Africa, where the Mu variant has been found.

At present Kolkata only has direct connectivity with Bangladesh, United Kingdom and the Gulf.  

Airport sources said that international passengers are being tested at the airport’s testing lab and only allowed to leave after a –ve report.

“The testing, with immediate effect, would be a paid service at the airport itself. If free service is asked for by the passengers, they would be sent to Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute for testing. If a passenger tests positive for the mutant virus, the normal protocol of keeping them admitted at Beleghata ID Hospital for all contact tracing and quarantine,” said a health official.

They will go home/hotel on their own choice, advise quarantine till the negative report comes, if positive, they will be called over and admitted to ID hospital or any private hospital of their choice. “But if they are in transit, they have to wait till the negative report comes,” said Dr Ajay Chakraborty, director of health services, West Bengal.

Meanwhile, the state has been keeping its record of inoculating people in state high. While 5 lakh-plus people were jabbed on Tuesday so far of (5,25,409 doses) with cumulatively 4,46,52,376 doses being administered.

This was preceded by around 7 lakh doses being administered on Monday.