Kolkata: The West Bengal government on Tuesday made it mandatory for international passengers from seven more countries including Bangladesh, China and South Africa to undergo RT-PCR tests on arrival in the state even if they are fully vaccinated, a senior official said.
The four other such countries are New Zealand, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Botswana. The practice would start from Wednesday, the official said.
The decision was taken at a meeting between senior officials of the health department and experts from various related fields, the official added.
“International passengers coming from the seven countries will have to undergo RT-PCR test for COVID-19 on arrival here, irrespective of their negative test report before boarding or even they have completed vaccination.
“We are following the directive of the ministry of health and family welfare… What is already being done with passengers from or transiting through the UK or Brazil,” an official said.
As per the decision, the testing would be a paid service at the Netaji Subhas Chandra International Airport in Kolkata. If any passenger wants a free service, he or she would be sent to Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute in the city, he added.
However, it is not clear where the travellers from these countries would stay till the results of the RT-PCR tests are received.
Meanwhile, seven persons succumbed to COVID-19 in West Bengal taking the death toll to 18,522, the health bulletin said.
Two deaths each were registered in North 24 Parganas, Hooghly and Nadia districts while one fatality was reported from South 24 Parganas district.
The bulletin said 601 new cases were reported from across the state taking the tally to 15,53,177.
In the last 24 hours, 687 patients recovered from the disease in the state taking the total number of cured people to 15,26,268. The discharge rate improved slightly to 98.27 per cent.
The number of active cases now is 8,387.
Since Monday, 35,882 samples were tested for coronavirus taking the total number of such clinical examinations to 1,72,72,409, the bulletin said.
On Tuesday, 5,25,409 vaccine doses were administered in West Bengal and the number of people getting the vaccine has reached 4,46,52,376, a health department official said.