Jammu & Kashmir

Authorities flouting COVID testing norms at Srinagar Airport, allege passengers

Srinagar: A 38-year-old man landed at Srinagar airport along with six other family members including two children.

They had just flown in from Delhi. After arriving at the airport, all the members went through the mandatory Rapid Antigen Test (RAT). Health officials at the airport took their contact number and told them to go home without even informing them about the reports.

After reaching home, they got a call from officials that the test of one of the members have been turned positive and had advised them to isolate her from the rest of the family members.

“There was a panic in the family as the patient had met with almost everyone including children and a liver donor. We immediately took the patient to Srinagar’s JVC hospital to confirm her test. She went through RAT as well as RT-PCR. RAT also showed negative and after two days her RT-PCR also came negative. This is the situation at the airport. The officials are careless about following COVID-19 protocols,” said Habeel Bashir (name changed), whose wife and a child were among the travellers.

Habeel’s is not the only case, this has happened to many others who have flown to Srinagar airport from various parts of the world.

Umer Ahmad, who had travelled to Srinagar in February from Delhi had undergone a test after arriving at the airport but even after a month, he did not receive a call from airport authorities to confirm his reports.

“RAT provides you reports with few minutes, it had been a month now but I have not received my reports yet. Had I been infected, imagine how many would have been infected from me. The health workers at the airport are busy in their world. Making travellers undergo the COVID-19 test is just a formality. They have made a mockery of this test and are not serious about it,” he added.

Another passenger who travelled to Srinagar from Delhi in February was shocked when he was told by the health official that “if you want, the reports will be negative”.

“I was dumbstruck… I told him how can you do that? He replied that is none of my concerns, you will get the test negative. I told him that please send me the real results but I have not received the reports yet. Also, there is no social distancing followed at the airport. This is why there has been a surge in COVID-19 cases in Kashmir because tests are not done properly at the airport,” he said wishing anonymity.

Burhan Bashir, another passenger who landed in Srinagar airport on February 3 said, “Srinagar airport is a mess. They will do a RAT and let you go. They don’t even tell you the test reports. I called the airport authority after reaching home to know about my test reports but they told me to contact the DC office for the reports.”

Director Srinagar Airport, Santosh Dhoke after listening to the Free Press Kashmir on phone said that he cannot talk as he was in an “emergency meeting”.


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