Last weekend I wrote about Maharashtra considering a move to ban travel from Delhi to Mumbai temporarily, given the huge rise in cases of CoVid-19 in Delhi. However, it seems that this was seen as a very extreme move, and Maharashtra did not go through with. However, Maharashtra has now put together a new set of guidelines, which mandate that anyone travelling into Maharashtra from Delhi, Goa, Gujarat and Rajasthan needs to be evaluated for CoVid-19 before arrival inside the state. The new Maharashtra Government guidelines for inter-state travel goes into effect from November 25, 2020.
Here is what the Maharashtra Government guidelines for inter-state travel read:
Domestic Air Travel
- All domestic passengers travelling from airports in Delhi-NCR, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Goa shall carry RT-PCR negative test report with them before boarding and show it to the teams at the arrival airport. The Airports Authority of India is requested to check for the report before allowing the passengers to board the flight.
- The RT-PCR sample collection should have been done within 72 hours of the scheduled time of landing at Airports in Maharashtra.
- Passengers not having the RT-PCR test reports fulfilling conditions above in 1 and 2, shall compulsorily undergo RT-PCR test at the concerned airports, at their own cost. The Airport shall ring the testing centres and charge the passengers directly for testing.
- Only after undertaking the test, the passengers will be allowed to go home by Airport Operator. The Contact information and address shall be collected from all passengers who undergo tests at the airport by Airport operator to facilitate contact, in case the test report comes positive.
- Passengers whose report comes positive will be contacted and treated as per the existing protocol.
- The concerned Municipal Commissioners will be the Nodal Officers for the same and ensure that the above instructions are followed strictly.
- All passengers travelling to Maharashtra by trains originating or having halt/stop at stations in Delhi-NCR, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Goa shall carry with them RT-PCR negative test report before they decide to enter Maharashtra.
- The RT-PCR sample collection should have been done within 96 hours before the scheduled arrival in Maharashtra.
- Passengers not having the RT-PCR test negative report shall be screened for symptoms and body temperature at the railway stations.
- The passengers without symptoms would be allowed to go home.
- Passengers who display symptoms shall be segregated and made to undergo Antigen test. If the Antigen test comes negative, the passengers will be allowed to go home.
- Passengers found COVID-19 positive, shall be sent to COVID Care Centre (CCC) for further care. The cost of further care, including CCC, shall be borne by the passenger themselves.
- The concerned Municipal Commissioners/District Collectors will be the Nodal Officers for the same and ensure that the above instructions are followed strictly.
- The concerned District Collectors of land border districts shall make arrangements to ensure that the passengers coming from the NCR of Delhi, States of Rajasthan Gujarat and Goa shall be tested for symptoms including body temperature.
- The passengers without symptoms will be allowed entry: Passengers with symptoms shall have the option of turning back and go to their home to recuperate.
- Passengers who display symptoms shall be segregated and made to undergo Antigen Test. If the Antigen test comes negative, the passengers will be allowed to travel further into Maharashtra.
- Passengers not testing/found COVID-19 positive shall be sent to COVID Care Centre (CCC) for further care. The cost of further care, including CCC, shall be borne by the passenger.
You can download a copy of the notification here.
While I get the sensitivity here, I think there could have been a better job done fleshing this out. First and foremost, as the country’s busiest hub airport, Delhi feeds a lot of traffic into Mumbai. This has not been factored into the notification. What they are implying is, get an all-clear report before you get on the plane, even if you got inside the country literally 5 hours prior and flew all the way from the USA and had the all-clear to not quarantine on arrival in India. Secondly, this will mean those who take connecting flights domestically via Delhi (already booked), are also on the hook because they touched the wrong Airport. This would be a huge bother for Vistara, Air India, IndiGo, and so on, all sorts of airlines.
This also takes away any potential of a same-day return business travel unless airlines are entitled to let customers board and they get tested in Mumbai on arrival.
Maharashtra’s Government has mandated that before you land in Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune or one of the other airports in Maharashtra, you will need to be tested for CoVid-19 and have a negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours before arriving in Maharashtra. Road and Rail travel have similar notifications.
What do you make of the new Maharashtra Government guidelines for inter-state travel?
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