COVID-19 | 300 air passengers skip mandatory tests in Assam’s Silchar

Officials said the passengers declined the tests and left a hospital they were guided to from the Kumbhirgram airport

The police and health officials in southern Assam’s Barak Valley have begun tracing about 300 air passengers who skipped the mandatory tests for COVID-19 after landing at the Kumbhirgram airport near Silchar town on Wednesday.

The State government had in view of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic made it a must for all incoming passengers to undergo rapid antigen test and RT-PCR on arrival. The tests on incoming passengers at the small Kumbhirgram airport are done at the Tikol Model Hospital nearby.

Officials said 690 passengers had landed from six of the seven flights that touched down at the airport on Wednesday. Some passengers travelling to other states in the northeast were exempted from testing.

“Six of the 189 passengers who underwent RAT and RT-PCR tested positive,” Cachar district’s Additional Deputy Commissioner Sumit Sattawan said, adding 300 passengers trooped out of the hospital without testing.

All incoming passengers at Kumbhirgram are given the option to go to the hospital in buses provided by the local administration or take their own vehicles by giving an undertaking and noting the details of the vehicle and the driver.

One of the reasons the air passengers defied the hospital authorities is said to be the inadequate security on the premises. There were only four police personnel at the hospital on Wednesday.

“The list of all the 300 passengers who skipped the testing is being prepared by the evening. We will trace them out and take necessary legal action,” Mr Sattawan said.

Bhanwar Lal Meena, Cachar’s Superintendent of Police said it would not be difficult to trace the passengers from Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts.

“Air passengers are expected to be responsible citizens. We hope none of these 300 people test positive, but in case some of them do, they have already endangered the lives of their near and dear ones,” he told The Hindu.

Assam’s COVID-19 positive count increased by 1,665 on Wednesday. Of the five people COVID-related deaths recorded, one was from Cachar district.

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