The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved nine systems for molecular testing of SARS-CoV-2 for hassle-free international travel, all of which are considered equivalent to the RT-PCR method.
The nine systems of Covid testing include Open system RTPCR, TrueNat, GeneXpert, RTLAMP, CRISPR/TATAMD CHECK/FELUDA, Abbott ID Now, Accula by Thermofisher, Rapid RTPCR, and CoviDx DirectPlex.
All the labs which will conduct the tests would follow the ICMR and Health Ministery guidelines to ensure genome sequencing of all positive cases, the ICMR said on Wednesday.
All the airports have been directed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation to facilitate RT-PCR testing of passengers by extending the required facilities and logistics.
The travellers undergoing random sampling may give the sample and leave. However, random sampling would be limited to 2 per cent as per the latest guidelines and it would be on self-paid basis, the ICMR said.
The airport authorities may co-ordinate with the officials of states and UTs to select the passengers for random sampling.
As per the ICMR, post-arrival testing can be exempted if a person is travelling from a ‘NOT AT RISK’ country and has only a transit without leaving immigration in the ‘AT RISK’ countries before boarding the destination flight.
However, if the person has travelled to any ‘AT RISK’ country in the last 14 days, he/she will be asked for post-arrival testing etc.
The travellers will have to submit their sample for post-arrival testing at the point of arrival. They will have to wait for the test results at the airport before leaving or taking a connecting flight. After the negative results are received, the passengers can take connecting flights to reach their final destination.
The ICMR clarified that a passenger can exit the airport or can board a connecting flight for final destination once the negative report is received. He/she need not wait for the report of all the co-passengers.