Tirupati: ICMR Covid test certificates trouble international travellers

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Highlights

  • While many nations seek RT-PCR negative certificate, it’s not being mentioned in the certificate
  • Private labs are issuing certificates clearly stating testing method as RT-PCR
  • There is a demand for mentioning of test method in certificate as the number of foreign travellers is growing

Tirupati: People wishing to go abroad for various reasons have been facing a tough situation with the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) generated Covid test certificate. The two page certificate gives the details of person's name, age, address, mobile number, etc., but nowhere one can find the test method. As RT-PCR is being considered as the gold standard test for detecting Covid, the negative report has become necessary through this test to go abroad.

Though there are other forms of tests like TrueNat, rapid antigen tests among others, RT-PCR test result are considered authentic despite occasional false results. When a person is tested negative in other tests and still has symptoms, RT-PCR test result is taken as final. However, a positive result in other forms of testing is considered as positive only.

As the RT-PCR test known as Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction is taken as the most acceptable method across the globe, many countries are insisting for a RT-PCR negative report from people to enter their jurisdictions.

Those going abroad are being asked for the RT-PCR negative certificate by the officials at airports and have been facing problems as nowhere the name RT-PCR is mentioned in the ICMR certificate even though the same test is conducted. Sometime back, an elected representative's family was learnt to have faced such a problem at Dubai airport.

Several others have also experienced the problem in the US. Knowing this, some others have been urging the authorities at Ruia hospital to mention that the test was conducted under RT-PCR method to avoid further problems. Some others have been going to private laboratories where the certificate is being given with the name of RT-PCR.

However, an international traveller commented that some officials are expressing doubts over the certificates given by private laboratories. To avoid such problems, there is a need to issue an uniform report either in government labs or private labs with ICMR's authorisation details and mentioning invariably the method of testing like RT-PCR.

As the number of international travellers is increasing irrespective of age groups, there is an urgent need to focus on this basic problem. It may be noted that around 1,000 people got vaccinated under the abroad-going category in Chittoor district while the number is even more in other districts. Keeping this large number of people in view, the officials have to take this to the notice of ICMR to see that the problem is addressed at the earliest to avoid any technical complications.

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