While the country is fretting upon the new COVID-19 variant Omicron and is strengthening the Rapid RT-PCR testing across the airports, Hyderabad airport may stop testing international passengers arriving at the airport for the Omicron variant.
According to Dr G Srinivas Rao, the Director of Public Health and Family Welfare, the Omicron variant is already present in the population, and categorising it separately would be futile because the spread could not be halted by testing 300-500 people at the airport.
The health department estimated that 70% of the COVID-19 cases in Telangana is due to Omicron. “We need not know whether it is Delta, Gamma or Omicron variant, as testing and treatment are the same. We cannot conduct genome sequencing on everybody. There is no need for it. We have to know if someone has COVID-19 or not,” News Minute quoted Dr Rao.
Although the classification of Omicron cases among COVID-19 infections has been ceased in Telangana, it is unclear whether genome sequencing for samples acquired from travellers at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport has been halted.
Hyderabad Airport Has the Highest Fee for RT-PCR Tests
Compared to all other Indian airports, the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad (RGIA Hyderabad) charges the highest fee for RT-PCR tests. Even though the Hyderabad airport has reduced the cost of Rapid RT-PCR tests, the pricing remains exorbitant.
Previously, the RT-PCR test cost Rs 4,500, but that was reduced to Rs 3,900 on December 3. While the RT-PCR test at Hyderabad airport is the most expensive, the cheapest is at Mumbai airport, where the price was recently reduced to Rs 1,975. The second highest cost is at Delhi airport, at Rs 3,500, followed by Bengaluru.
There is a four times increase in the number of cases in the last five days in Telangana. The majority of the cases were found in people who did not come from one of the at-risk countries. Officials also cautioned that the state could see a higher spike in cases after the Sankranti celebration later this month. The director, who stated that the next four weeks are essential, urged people to closely adhere to COVID-19 protocols to prevent the spread of the cases.