Saturday 9 January 2021 12:36 AM UTC
By A Staff Reporter
LONDON Jan 8: Scores of Malayalee passengers, which includes families and children, are reportedly held up at the Delhi airport for several hours on them pretext that they need to have their Covid test done at the airport and then having to wait for another six-to eight hours for the results to come.
The passengers, being held up at the Delhi airport are from the Air India flight from UK which landed in Delhi with 246 passengers on board at 10.30am Indian time today (8th January 2020).
Sanju, a Keralite from UK, who is at the Delhi airport, left a voicemail message narrating her experiences at the airport in the UK Pravasi Help Desk Whatsapp group. ON being contacted Sanju spoke to this website and narrated the harrowing incidents ongoing at the airport as we do this report.
All Keralite travellers from the UK had to take Covid test prior to the journey to Delhi and only those who tested negative were allowed to travel by Air India. This test results are valid for 72 hours too. However, on arrival at the Delhi airport the officials there have now asked the passengers to line up for another Covid test to be taken.
Interestingly, the Delhi authorities have taken off the passports from the passengers, which include both Indian and British, and told them that they wont get them back until all the test formalities have been completed.
Sanju said: “I had the Covid test taken from UK and told the officials at Delhi but they are not taking that into account and has asked us to take another test. I have been in this queue in a nearly isolated part of the airport for nearly four hours now and alongwith me there are several children and elderly persons. We are all waiting to take the Covid test by officials here. Once we had the test then we will have to wait for another six-to eight hours for the results to come out. During this time we have to either pay for our stay at the airport or wait”.
“The officials here have confiscated our passport and have told us that they will return it back only once all the formalities have been completed which is ridiculous and not legal”, Sanju told this website.
“They are now telling us that we will have to quarantine for 7 days in Delhi before we can travel to Kochi. And for this we can either choose to opt for paid or unpaid quarantine stay. This is ridiculous as prior to boarding from UK this was not what we were lead to believe by Air India or the India government”, Sanju said.
On being asked what the authorities there have to say about this Sanju said:”They say that this is the new rule which was brought in today by the Delhi government”.
Flights from India to UK restarted on Wednesday even as the number of people who have tested positive for the new UK variant has climbed to 82. According to the government, 30 flights will operate every week – 15 each by Indian and UK carriers. This will stand till 23 January, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri has said.
The Delhi airport has advised passengers to keep a gap of at least 10 hours between their arrival from UK and the connecting flight to their cities.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday urged the Centre to extend the flights ban till January 31 because of the “extremely serious” COVID situation in the UK.
“The Centre has decided to lift the ban and start UK flights. In view of the extremely serious situation in UK, I would urge central government to extend the ban till January 31,” Mr Kejriwal tweeted.
“With great difficulty, people have brought COVID situation in control. UK’s COVID situation is very serious. Now, why lift ban and expose our people to risk?” the chief minister said.
In Delhi, 13 people have tested positive for the new coronavirus variant.
The Civil Aviation Minister had tweeted that further frequency of flights would be determined after review.
All passengers from the UK arriving between January 8 and January 30 will be subjected to self-paid COVID-19 tests on arrival. Passengers are also required to carry COVID-19 negative reports from a test done 72 hours before their journey and quarantine for 14 days even if they test negative on arrival, according to the government’s new SOP.
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