- BMC asked Mumbai airport operator to communicate new rule to all domestic airlines
- Civic body said passengers can be exempted from RT-PCR only in exceptional cases
- BMC said Maharashtra's directives shall become operational from Wednesday midnight
Amid global concerns over the Omicron strain of coronavirus, the Mumbai civic body on Wednesday mandated all domestic passengers landing at the city airport to carry a negative RT-PCR report not older than 72 hours.
In a circular, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) asked the Mumbai airport operator to communicate this new rule to all the domestic airlines.
"The Mumbai Airport operator to communicate to all domestic Airlines that they shall not board, ordinarily, any passenger for landing in Mumbai without RT-PCR test with negative result taken within 72 hours of departure," the directive stated.
In Maharashtra, six passengers from the high-risk countries have tested positive for coronavirus so far, a health bulletin had said. As one of them is from Mumbai, the BMC has tightened measures.
The civic body said passengers can be exempted from the RT-PCR report rule only in exceptional cases like family distress, and the testing may be allowed on arrival at the airport in Mumbai.
The civic body also directed the airport operator to strictly implement the revised COVID-19 guidelines of the Government of India (GOI) issued in view of the concerns over the new Omicron variant of coronavirus "with immediate effect".
As per the Centre's guidelines, the passengers arriving from the "risk" countries specified in the circular will have to undergo a self-paid post-arrival COVID-19 test at the port of arrival, the civic body said.
The BMC also said that the Maharashtra government's directives "shall become operational from 23:59 hours of December 2, 2021".
In the latest guidelines, the Maharashtra government has specified that the passengers coming from "risk countries" shall compulsorily undergo institutional quarantine for one week and take RT-PCR tests on the 2nd, 4th and 7th-day post-arrival.
The civic body said that it has decided to give two days for the passengers coming from "risk" countries as many of them have already finalised their travel plans and are on the move. Many passengers might be airborne and they might not be aware of these recent guidelines.
"To avoid major inconveniences and also to recast their travel plans, a window of two days is proposed to be given to all passengers from the risk countries," the BMC stated.
The Maharashtra State Disaster Management Authority on Tuesday night had issued the latest guidelines. The list of 'at-risk countries is announced by the Union government.
According to an updated list, the countries designated as 'at-risk are the European countries, the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.