Mumbai: Mumbai airport taxi drivers are very concerned after passengers were detected who tested positive for the Omicron variant of Covid. Taxi unions have asked airport authorities to disinfect their taxis and also check drivers who transport international passengers. On Sunday, seven such cases were discovered in Maharashtra.
In recent days, authorities at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport have gone too far in screening passengers arriving from ‘at risk’ countries such as the UK, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana , Brazil, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel, which are then landed as a priority. Checks at the domestic terminal at Mumbai airport have also been intensified.
Taxi unions claim that there are passengers opting for pre-paid taxis at the airport, booking them from inside or at the counter. The drivers, assuming the passenger is negative for the new Omicron variant, proceed to transport the passengers. But according to taxi unions, a recent incident where a passenger who tested positive for Omicron and traveled in a taxi, spooked taxi drivers at Mumbai airport.
“We have asked the Mumbai airport operator to disinfect taxis and even check the health of the drivers. So far, the drivers seem to be fine, but it’s important to be careful,” said Guddu Singh, head of the Mumbai Airport Taxi Union.
According to the unions, around 1,500 black and yellow taxis operate from Mumbai airport. Of these, around 700-900 taxis are parked at the international terminal while another 500-600 ferry passengers arrive at the domestic terminal. Unions say for about two months business was just getting back to normal; however, Omicron’s fear makes them unstable again.
Mumbai Airport has revised the rapid PCR test charges to Rs 3,900 from the first Rs 4,500. Passengers must undergo a mandatory RT-PCR test upon arrival and must await their test results before departing or to take a connecting flight. If the RT-PCR test is positive, the passenger will be transferred to an isolation center or a hospital designated by the authorities. Other directives have also been issued by the central government and state governments.
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Published on: Sunday, December 5, 2021, 11:15 p.m. IST