Amritsar, December 22
Passengers who arrived at Amritsar’s Sri Guru Ramdas Jee International Airport from the UK protested against the authorities over the alleged delay in carrying out their coronavirus tests.
Their family members on Tuesday claimed that they had been made to wait for hours.
The authorities, however, said the clearance might take some more time as every passenger and crew member would have to be tested for coronavirus.
The Air India flight from the UK with 250 passengers and 18 crew members had landed at 12.30 am.
India has suspended all passenger flights from the UK till December 31 in the wake of the emergence of a mutated variant of coronavirus there, joining several other countries that have imposed a similar flight ban.
Moreover, passengers coming from the UK through flights till Tuesday midnight will be tested for COVID-19 on arrival at airports.
Relatives of passengers told the media that several passengers protested at the airport due to the delay in testing for the infection.
Ankush, a resident of Faridkot, said his brother Ankur had arrived from the UK on the flight.
“All our family members have been waiting for him for the past several hours,” he said, accusing the authorities of not informing them about the time to be taken for his clearance.
Amrik Singh, whose son Sukhwinder arrived from the UK, said he could not meet him yet. “I have enquired from the airport authorities about the test report of my son for a number of times but they keep saying that it will take two hours more,” he said.
“I got a message from inside that several passengers have protested for the delay in the sampling and testing process. I fail to understand why all passengers have been detained there for more than 12 hours on the pretext of testing,” he said.
A team of health authorities deputed at the airport took samples of all passengers and crew members.
Amritsar Assistant Deputy Commissioner Himanshu Aggarwal said the sampling process started as soon as the flight landed last night.
Each passenger and crew member will have to undergo a RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) test, he said, adding that passengers were provided with food.
He said the airport authorities had already informed their relatives about testing.
To a question on the protest by some passengers, Aggarwal said, “Usually, it takes five to six hours for clearance of all international passengers. But today it will take a few hours more and everybody should bear with us.” PTI