In what could be a major setback to the State’s charter tourism plans, the new protocols issued by central government over the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 could affect charter flights scheduled to arrive in the State by mid-December.
Goa Airport Director Gagan Malik informed that amid concerns over the new Covid-19 strain, the central government had issued fresh set of guidelines on Sunday night to be implemented at airports on December 1.
"Passengers from "at risk" countries, including UK, would now have to be tested mandatorily upon arrival. Up to 5 per cent of passengers of “non risk” countries would also be subject to random testing on arrival. The tests results will then be sent for genome sequencing to identify the variant of Covid. There will also be quarantine period specified as well.”
“The central government wants to ensure that proper process be adopted to detect the virus and it does not spread," said Malik.
Malik added that the central government had directed to keep all international flight movement on hold till it takes a decision in the matter.
"We had approved around 27 slots for charter flights to Goa but the fate of charter flights now depends on situation prevalent in their countries, the change in protocol decisions besides the spread of the new Covid variant.”
“We have, as of now, received instructions to keep everything on hold for the time being till the central government decides about it. Slot approvals is one thing and Covid scenario in the world and subsequent change in protocol is another thing.”
“This variant is a major cause of concern and it also depends on what decision the government finally takes on international flights," said Malik.