Nepal govt-certified PCR tests necessary: Civil Aviation Ministry


The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has sent a letter to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) to break the reported syndicate of international airline companies in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test being conducted on passengers they are transporting to Nepal.

MoCTCA has written a letter to CAAN after receiving several complaints from stakeholders that international companies are asking their passengers to get their PCR tests done in some selected hospitals.

As per the complaints, airline operators are cashing in on the mandatory rule introduced by the Nepal government, whereby only those passengers with PCR negative report are allowed to enter the country.

Acting on the complaints, MoCTCA has directed CAAN to convey a message to airline operators not to force passengers to get tested in the COVID testing centres of their choice, but to allow passengers to get their PCR tests done at the authorised hospitals, said Raj Kumar Chhetri, spokesperson for CAAN.

“Though we have not received any such grievances, reportedly MoCTCA has received complaints from passengers themselves. Thus, the ministry has sent such a letter,” he explained.

“We will now send a letter to the international airline companies to follow the protocols of Nepal government of doing PCR test at any government or private hospital and health academy that has received permission from the government to conduct the test,” he said.

MoCTCA has also stated that if any airline company is found to be acting against the government’s direction, the ministry will take action against such airline companies, Chhetri added.

According to MoCTCA, airline operators can carry only those passengers who have PCR negative report in the test conducted within 72 hours of flight time. Those passengers who have PCR negative report can directly go home and will have to stay in home quarantine for 14 days.

Local COVID-19 Crisis Management Centres, under the local governments, will monitor those passengers staying in home quarantine.

On Tuesday, MoCTCA had released the new schedule for regular and chartered international flights that will be implemented from September 2.

According to the ministry, a total of 57 regular flights and 27 chartered international flights have been allowed to operate between September 2 and September 30. After that the ministry will again take a decision as the situation evolves.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 28, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.