Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) will from today (December 1) segregate passengers arriving from “high-risk countries” and those from “low risk countries”, as new travel guidelines come into force in response to the spread of the new coronavirus “variant of concern” Omicron.

“Arriving passengers from high-risk countries, will be segregated from passengers arriving from low-risk countries,” a CSMIA spokesperson said.

The airport has “adequate RT-PCR testing facility” in the international arrivals area with 48 registration counters and 40 sampling booths, the spokesperson added.

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The three RT-PCR testing labs in the international arrivals area include Lifenity, Suburban Diagnostics and Acu-MDx (Mylabs).

In addition to normal RT-PCR, there are 30 Rapid PCR machines for passengers with a short connecting time for onward flights, the spokesperson said, adding, “This facility will be upscaled further, if required.”

Passengers who have not pre-booked their RT-PCR test online can do so using the QR codes displayed in the arrival corridor.

Physical forms for RT-PCR registration are available on board flights, which passengers can fill before disembarking to avoid queuing on arrival, the spokesperson said.

Waiting area with amenities

For passengers awaiting their RT-PCR results, the airport has created a “large sitting area” with amenities like washroom, and food and beverage.

“CSMIA has also sensitised relevant stakeholders on the new guidelines and added facilities for passengers’ convenience,” the spokesperson said.

“CSMIA has undertaken all necessary precautions to mitigate the spread of the new covid variant. For CSMIA, passengers’ safety, well-being, and security are of utmost importance,” the spokesperson added.

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As per guidelines from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, countries in Europe, including the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel have been designated as “at risk”.

The Maharashtra government, in addition to the central government norms related to international arrivals, has imposed more curbs for international arrivals from at-risk countries.

Proforma of declaration

The DCP immigration and FRRO (Foreigners Registration Office) will have to draft a proforma of declaration for all international arrivals to declare details of the countries visited in the last 15 days.

The Mumbai airport will have to share the proformas with all airlines and this shall be cross-checked by immigration on arrival. Incorrect information furnished by the passenger shall lead to action under relevant sections of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

Passengers arriving from at-risk countries may be deplaned on priority and separate counters will be arranged by airport authorities for their checking.

Such passengers will have to undergo mandatory seven-day institutional quarantine, with RT-PCR tests on days 2, 4 and 7, as per the guidelines.

If an international passenger has a connecting flight to any other airport in India (without leaving the airport at all), the passenger will have to undergo an RT-PCR test at the first arrival airport in Maharashtra. They will be allowed to board the connecting flight only on being found negative.

Information about such passengers will be passed on by the airline of the connecting flight to the destination airport prior to take-off, to enable the destination airport to segregate them on arrival.