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After Delhi Airport Pics Show Crowds, Union Minister J Scindia Intervenes

Jyotiraditya Scindia has asked DIAL to manage crowds better, reported PTI .

New Delhi:

Union Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has asked the Delhi airport operator DIAL to improve crowd management after passengers complained of chaos at the airport as the Omicron-related travel guidelines came into effect. Images from the Delhi airport since December 1 have given an impression of a crowded railway station, with hordes of masked passengers waiting for Covid tests and its results for anything up to eight hours. With a total absence of any social distancing, many have described the airport as “Covid hotspot”.

After news reports and tweets about the situation, Mr Scindia held a meeting on Monday with officials of the Airports Authority of India, Bureau of Immigration and GMR group-led Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), reported news agency Press Trust of India.

Officials of Genestrings Diagnostics, the sole laboratory that does RT-PCR testing at the Delhi airport, were also present at the meeting, PTI reported.

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Some of the passengers waiting at the Delhi airport described it as a “hotspot”

At the meeting, the minister directed the DIAL to implement better crowd management strategies, reported PTI quoting un-named government officials.

Under the Centre’s guidelines of November 30, all passengers coming from “at-risk” countries have to take a mandatory RT-PCR test on arrival. Besides, two per cent of passengers arriving from other countries would also have to take the test on a random basis. All of them have to wait for results and are allowed out of the airport only if they test negative.

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To cut down on waiting time, many have been taking the more expensive rapid PCR tests — which come at a hefty Rs 3,500 and provide a result in two hours. The waiting time for a normal RT-PCR test, which costs Rs 500, is six to eight hours.

Commenting on a tweet about the situation at the Delhi airport, Congress MP Karti Chidambaram had said: “As I feared and warned. Total confusion and crowding in airports.”

Yesterday, the Delhi airport authorities announced that 20 dedicated counters have been opened for passengers who pre-book their tests before flying in.

The Union health ministry has named several countries in Europe — including the UK — South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Israel in the “at-risk” category.

So far, 21 Omicron cases have been detected in India — nine in Rajasthan, eight in Maharashtra, two in Karnataka and one each in Delhi and Gujarat.

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