A partial lockdown has been implemented in numerous states across the country, and Indian Railways has modified its rules accordingly.
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Travellers and other travel sector players have welcomed one of the recommendations offered by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in its latest advisory for COVID-19 testing during the second wave of the pandemic.
In its May 4 advisory, the ICMR has recommended that ‘the need for RTPCR test in healthy individuals undertaking inter-state domestic travel may be completely removed to reduce the load on laboratories’.
ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¢ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¬ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¬ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ®ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¬ ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¯ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¢ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¬ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¨ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ«ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ² ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¨ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ« ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ-ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¬ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¢ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ§ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ®ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ«ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¢ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ§ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¡ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¬ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¨ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ§ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ°ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¯ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¨ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¡ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ©ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ§ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¦ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¢ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ. @MoHFW_INDIA @PIB_India @COVIDNewsByMIB @MIB_India @ pic.twitter.com/kkY2hacpWW— ICMR (@ICMRDELHI) May 4, 2021
While the efficacy of the RT-PCR test as a pandemic containment measure cannot be denied, the mandatory production of negative COVID-19 test reports by travellers is proving to be a hurdle for most. The biggest problem being getting the test reports on time, to meet the mandatory 48-hour or 72-hour deadline.
Apart from leisure travellers, even those compelled to undertake inter-state travel for any exigency are also faced with similar dilemma. Many states have not only made the negative reports mandatory for those travelling by air but also for those travelling by road and rail.
With the spurt in pandemic cases, authorised testing centres are woefully short of staff and testing kits. Although many airlines have tied up with private healthcare providers to ease the testing woes of passengers, even those organisations are said to be failing to meet the deadline for sample collection and delivery of test reports. Hence the removal of the clause will likely reduce the travel woes to a large extent.
However, the response of the state governments to the recommendation is awaited. Meanwhile, on May 5, the newly elected West Bengal government has made negative test reports not beyond 72- hours compulsory for all those entering West Bengal from other states by air, road and rail, according to latest media reports.
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