Indians travelling to Dubai grounded by test rule
Test validity for travel to Sharjah, Abu Dhabi remains 72 hours and 96 hours respectively
Indians travelling to Dubai from Covid-hit states back home have raised concerns after more airlines announced the new rule that cut the validity of the pre-departure RTPCR test to 48 hours.
Starting today, passengers from India to Dubai are required to carry a negative report of a RT-PCR test taken not more than 48 hours before departure, Air India and Air India Express, had announced on Monday. Dubai previously required 72-hour test validity.
According to airlines and travel agents, the validity of pre-departure tests for passengers from India to Sharjah and Abu Dhabi remains 72 hours and 96 hours respectively.
Backlog, long delays
Many Indians took to Twitter to raise concerns about getting test results in such a short span of time in states like Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh .
Afrin Basar said it would not be possible to fly when labs in Mumbai take a minimum of 48 hours to provide a report.
Sumesh said labs in Pune are taking more than 48 hours to give a report, while Gaurav said it takes at least five days in some areas. Fakhruddin Rassiwala from Madhya Pradesh was concerned about his parents’ travel to Dubai as the nearest airports were in Ahmedabad and Jaipur.
“Hospitals and labs have a backlog of three to four days and it is impossible for people to travel in this scenario,” said Nazir, another Twitter user.
Diagnostic centres conducting tests are nearing breaking point in cities like New Delhi and Mumbai.
Travel agents in Dubai also said that customers in India were worried about missing their flights. Nazim A.K, a travel consultant with Al Fain Travel, told Gulf News that two families from Mumbai already missed their flights twice because they did not get their test results in time as per the current validity of 72 hours.
Hospitals and labs [in some Indian states] have a backlog of three to four days and it is impossible for people to travel in this scenario.” Nazir | Twitter user
Flight cancellation fears
“One customer went to Hyderabad to get the test and catch a flight from there because he was not getting the result within 72 hours in Mumbai.”
M. Riyas, sales manager at Saadi Travel and Tourism, said the situation is better in states like Kerala and Karnataka. “Customers from these states are getting their test results within 24 hours,” he said.
Nazim said some passengers scheduled to land in Dubai early today were in a fix because they had done their tests on Monday. “Airlines are giving options like free rescheduling, or refund if a passenger tests positive and misses the flight. But, we are not sure what happen if a passenger misses the flight because test results are late,” he added.
One customer went to Hyderabad to get the test and catch a flight from there because he was not getting the result within 72 hours in Mumbai.” Nazim A.K | Consultant with Al Fain Travel