Download App

COVID-19 | Maharashtra makes RT-PCR test compulsory for domestic travellers due to new Omicron variant

Dec 01, 2021 12:43 PM IST

The development comes after a new COVID-19 variant Omicron was detected in South Africa and declared a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization.

Mumbai International Airport (Representative Image)

The Government of Maharashtra, in an order dated November 30, has made it mandatory for intra-state travellers to either be fully vaccinated or hold valid RT-PCR tests and for inter-state travellers to produce RT-PCR tests (48 hours), without exception.

The development comes after a new COVID-19 variant Omicron was detected in South Africa and declared a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO), the order said.

The order states that the move is being implemented under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 “with immediate effect”.

Here are all the restrictions being imposed on air travel into Maharashtra:

COVID-19 Vaccine
Frequently Asked Questions

View more

How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
View more
+ Show


– In the case of domestic air travel, passengers travelling within Maharashtra will either have to be fully vaccinated or compulsorily carry a RT-PCR test within 48 hours of the time of arrival.

– In case of passengers from other Indian states, negative RT-PCR test within 48 hours of arrival will be compulsory without exceptions.

Also Read | Seven-day quarantine must for passengers from 'at-risk' countries arriving in Mumbai


– All restrictions imposed by the Centre on November 28 and future restrictions if any shall act as “minimum restrictions to be imposed”.

– All passengers arriving from international flights will have to declare details of the countries visited in the last 15 days. For this, the DCP immigration and FRRO are to draft a proforma of declaration.

Mumbai International Airport (MIAL) will share this proforma with all airlines and the information provided will be cross-checked by immigration on arrival. Incorrect info will be subject to relevant sections under the DMA, 2005.

Maharashtra domestic travel restrictions (Graphic: Upnesh Raval/Moneycontrol)

– International passengers arriving from “at-risk” countries may be de-planed on priority, and MIAL and the Airport Authority (AAI) will screen them at separate counters.

These passengers will have to undergo mandatory 7 days' institutional quarantine, and will undergo RT-PCR tests on the second, fourth and the seventh day.

If found positive, the passengers will be shifted to a hospital, and if all tests are negative, they will have to undergo a further 7 days of home quarantine.

– Other international passengers arriving from non-“at-risk” countries will have to undergo compulsory RT-PCR test at the airport.

If found negative, they will have to undergo 14 days of home quarantine, and if positive, they will be shifted to a hospital.

– For international passengers with connecting flights to any other airport in India (without leaving the airport at all), an RT-PCR test at the first arrival airport in Maharashtra will be mandatory. They will be allowed to board the connecting flight only if the test result is negative.

Information about such passengers shall be passed on by the airline of the connecting flight to the destination airport before take-off so that the destination airport can make arrangements for segregating such passengers on arrival.

In case such a passenger is taking a connecting flight to an airport in Maharashtra, they will be subjected to quarantine rules mentioned in the order for landing directly from an international source.

Jocelyn Fernandes
first published: Dec 1, 2021 10:27 am
next story