About 200 Dubai-bound Indian passengers were not permitted to board their flights as their Covid-19 test results were considered invalid, revealed airport authorities. This is because they were found to be carrying the RT-PCR reports from black-listed laboratories.
A total of 117 passengers were denied permission to board an Air India Express flight from Kannur International Airport in Kerala, which left for Dubai at 2pm (UAE time) on Monday. Similarly, 100 passengers were also reported to have been stranded at Kozhikode International Airport.
The Head of Operations at the Kannur International airport, Rajesh Poduwal said that the passengers were denied entry as they were carrying test reports from laboratory that was blacklisted by the Dubai authorities. Those unable to travel were given free replacement tickets.
The Dubai Health Authorities had announced that they would no longer accept the RT-PCR Covid-19 test results from four laboratories in India. These include the Suryam Lab in Jaipur, Dr. P Bhasin Pathlabs Ltd., in Delhi, Noble Diagnostic Centre in Delhi and Microhealth Labs in Kerala.
Passengers travelling to Dubai are advised to obtain pre-travel RT-PCR reports from Pure Health-approved laboratories (UAE’s official testing facility), the airline said.
Poduval also said “One GoAir flight also departed to Dubai today but the airline took special permission from the UAE authorities to ensure smooth operations today. Starting tomorrow, this will not be the case."
Confirming the report about the blacklisted labs, Neeraj Agarwal, consul for Press, Information and Culture at the Consulate-General of India in Dubai, said that passengers wishing to fly from India to Dubai can bring the test report from all other ICMR-approved facilities except the four labs that have been listed by the Dubai authorities.
A similar notice has been issued by the Flydubai UAE airline to its passengers flying and from India.
Meanwhile, one of the blacklisted labs, Kerala’s Micro Health Laboratories said that the problem arose after 2600 fake test results were issued by scamsters under its name.
The CEO of MicroHealth Laboratories, Dr. Noushad said “A lab in Malappuram district issued these fake results on our letterhead and forged our stamps. The case was reported to the local police."
Micro Health has 27 labs across the world, and had partnered with the UAE’s official testing facility, Pure Health in July. The company had opened franchises with more than 40 labs in Kerala.
Dr. Noushad, however, said "The problem has now been resolved. We had shared an online verification system with airlines and we have also launched a QR code system to check the authenticity of the test results,"