Just as India is in the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, experiencing record number of cases, passengers landing at Silchar Airport in Assam have aggravated the pandemic, by somehow bypassing mandatory Rapid Antigen Test & RT-PCR Test on arrival at the Airport. Furthermore, local authorities are unaware of how these passengers managed to slip under the radar.
“On Wednesday, 690 people landed at Silchar,” said Sumit Sattawan, ADC, Health, Cachar district, “Some were exempt since they were transit passengers travelling to other northeast states. A total of 189 took the test — out of which six were positive. Around 300 went away, skipping the test. Regarding how they ran away and other details, we are still investigating what exactly happened”. However, he remained adamant that every effort would be made to trace the perpetrators.
Skipping Tests Over 500 Rupees
Passengers should undertake the necessary Covid-19 Tests at Tikol Model Hospital in the vicinity of Silchar Airport. This is due to the Airport lacking capacity to cater for mass testing. Public transport is provided to passengers from the Airport to the Hospital, or they can take private transport, subject to providing vehicle & driver details. The RT-PCR Test costs 500 INR (US $7), which appeared to be a key driver behind many passengers failing to take test.
Sumit Sattawan added, “The police are currently tracing the passengers who fled, following which legal action will be taken. Cases will be registered under relevant sections”. The need for enforcement is further heightened by the state of Assam currently having 9,048 active Covid-19 cases. As such, the State Government is currently ordering all public spaces and places to close by 6 PM each day.