Covid-19: Maharashtra makes RT-PCR test compulsory for people travelling from Delhi, Rajasthan, Goa, Gujarat

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on November 24, 2020

Effective from November 25, the new rule applies to all domestic passengers, and it is mandatory to take the test at least 72 hours before the date of travel.

Planning a quick vacation to Goa might not be a fruitful decision for travellers. In a move to curb the rapid increase of Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra, the state government on Monday announced that passengers travelling from Gujarat, DELHI-NCR, Goa, and Rajasthan need to take the RT-PCR test. This move, while required, may cripple the already struggling travel and the airline industry, said, industry players.

In a circular, the state government said that this rule applied to all domestic passengers, and it was mandatory to take the test at least 72 hours before the date of travel. The rules will be applied from November 25.

A full-service carrier BusinessLine spoke to said that the Delhi-Bombay route saw the highest passenger load factors for the past few weeks. “Since the order comes in to effect from November 25, it can be a bit chaotic, however, it also mentions that passengers will have to undergo the test at Mumbai if they don’t have the certificate, so that might be helpful.”

Nishant Pitti, the co-founder of EaseMyTrip. said that while they have not seen immediate cancellations, but new bookings for Delhi-Bombay sectors are going to be hit, for sure.

Testing facility

While Mumbai Airport has the facility to test at least 3,000 people at the moment, it can increase the capacity to test 5,000 people, too. However, sources said that this move could be costly for travellers; thus, a deterrent. “This will be a fresh blow to the airline industry, which was just streamlining itself. Passengers had just started to become more confident about air travel.”

In the past couple of weeks, a quick getaway to Goa had become a go-to thing for residents of Maharashtra. This was also a good boost for the restaurant and the hotel industry. While this could be a dampener for the industry, the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India and IATO have said that these decisions are for the benefit of the people.

Along with air travel, there are norms for road and rail travel, too. However, the norms are a bit unclear, said the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India. “There should be more clarity on whether this is applicable for even day travellers etc. Ambiguity often leads to misinterpretation of those implementing this order.” The association also suggested that instead of RT-PCR, instant covid tests should have been opted for.

Published on November 23, 2020

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