Covid rules land Kolkata family on holiday in trouble – Times of India

Kolkata News
KOLKATA: Lack of knowledge of the Covid test norms while flying can derail travel plans. A family of seven in Kolkata heading to their first vacation in three years learnt it the hard way on Friday morning when they were not allowed to board the Andamans-bound flight as their two-year-andthree-month-old child had not undergone a Covid test — a mandatory norm in order to fly to Port Blair.
According to the current Covid regulations to enter Andaman and Niccobar Islands, a person either has to carry proof of double dose of vaccination or a Covid-negative RT-PCR certificate. Since no children are vaccinated in India as yet, all travellers over two are required to undergo an RT-PCR test to fly.

The rule is the same for flying to Kolkata, but Bengal has an additional specification for passengers travelling from Pune, Mumbai and Chennai. They are required to undergo RT-PCR tests even if fully vaccinated.
“Our entire family is vaccinated except for the twoyear-and-three-month-old child. We didn’t know he needed an RT-PCR test. Moreover, how can we force an infant to undergo an RT-PCR test? It’s extremely uncomfortable and has to be painful for the child. The airline didn’t listen to our reasons and we had to miss the flight, suffering a loss worth several thousands,” said Abhishek Jaiswal, a businessman from New Town.
Jaiswal was flying to Port Blair with his wife, son, father and three sisters. Because of the early-morning fiasco at the Kolkata airport, Jaiswal had to send his father and sisters to the Andamans while he and his wife stayed back with their son.
“We re-booked three more tickets for Saturday at a premium rate, got the Covid test done for our child and then boarded the flight,” said Jaiswal.
The travel trade community in Kolkata, as well as in the rest of the country, has been appealing to state governments to relax the mandatory RT-PCR requirement at least for children under 12 accompanying their parents since it is proving to be a major deterrent in planning vacations and taking up flight journeys.
“The entire tourism industry is passing through a very challenging phase. The business has just started to boom, but the RT-PCR requirement for children is a big concern as many parents are not comfortable subjecting them to it. The governments should waive the test requirement for children below 12 who do not have any Covid symptom,” said Anil Punjabi, chairman (east) Travel Agents Federation of India.