As the Omicron variant threatens to unleash a new wave of Covid-19, the center has asked states to maintain a strict vigil over international passengers coming into the country. However, this disrupted the travel plans of many visitors, adding to the problems of the new alternative.
In a new set of travel advisories issued by the BMC on December 1, those entering Mumbai from ‘at-risk countries’ as defined by the center will have to take an RT-PCR test, follow seven days of mandatory institutional quarantine and repeat a RT-PCR test. In the second, fourth and seventh. Domestic travelers coming to Mumbai need a negative RT-PCR regardless of their vaccination status. The RT-PCR test and seven-day quarantine rule also applies to international travelers from other countries now.
The guidelines have made things difficult for both incoming and outgoing international passengers, with much tampering with the lengthy procedure.
“I am coming from the UK. Everything was fine until I arrived in India. But in India, doing the RT-PCR test was a pain. You pay Rs 4000, you get the report in an hour. You pay Rs 500 and the report comes in In four hours.Yesterday we left London at 8 and now we get here so it’s been a long flight.I did the RT-PCR in London but still have to do another one after landing.Why did they make us go through so pain filling out a Suvidha form if I had to Getting tested again It’s getting tougher for travelers; “There are still old people inside waiting for their report,” said a couple returning from London on December 1st.
The RT-PCR test and seven-day quarantine rule also applies to international travelers from other countries now. (News 18)
Prirak Kadakia, a 38-year-old businessman based in Mumbai, is set to make his first international business trip two years after the pandemic. But his plans are all up in the air as fear of Omicron grips the nation.
“I have booked for Belgium on Saturday but the thing is India has put certain restrictions on ‘at risk’ countries. The concern is I don’t know what the situation will be when I travel, if they take tougher measures, I don’t want to be in a situation where going back is difficult. From a business point of view it’s important for us to travel. It’s been two years and business is stagnant. I’ll take a call on Friday. A lot of documents are needed but that’s fine. I just don’t want to get stuck somewhere. I had a friend who got stuck in South Africa when Omicron showed up.His flight to Dubai was canceled and then he had to fly to Belgium to fly to Dubai.He said “I don’t want to suffer from that kind of stress”.
After the deadly second wave, BMC also took no chances. Against the backdrop of the Omicron threat, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Bednekar paid a visit to the airport in the dark of night to assess the alert. We have already started quarantining those coming from Europe. “There is a mandatory institutional quarantine for a week after which they will have to be tested again,” she said.
Not just the airline industry, the travel business is also on edge after seeing a steady recovery with Covid-19 cases declining and things opening again.
However, SOTC Travel Managing Director Vishal Suri insisted there was no reason to press the panic button. “We ask our customers not to change their plans yet. Yes, there are some standards set by the government and we will follow all protocols, but there is no scientific data on Omicron and things will be clear within a week. We also provide a service that causes these uncertainties to our customers, so there is no need to worry Whether it is due to flight cancellations or delays – it will be taken care of. Whether it is in hotels or during flights, our staff are vaccinated and all safety standards are followed.”
While the fear of the Omicron variant is obvious, one must learn to live with the virus by following simple, often forgotten Covid-19 protocol such as wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance.
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