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12 charter tourists test Covid positive on arrival, ET TravelWorld News, ET TravelWorld

Goa: 12 charter tourists test Covid positive on arrival
At least 12 charter tourists from Russia and Kazakhstan have tested positive on arrival since the state government started testing all international travellers from last week.

They were sent into a state-run isolation facility as they were Omicron suspects. While a stay of charter tourists is normally limited to two to three weeks, it means those who test positive for Covid-19 will have to spend their holiday in isolation and return home.

Local operators fear cancellation of schedules with the rise in cases, though no cancellations have been reported so far. Sita Travels, Chief Operating Officer, Ernest Dias, said that if restrictions are imposed by the state, there will be cancellations, and it will be the end of the charter season.

The state on Tuesday reported 592 fresh cases of Covid-19, with the positivity rate remaining high at 13.89 per cent, as per the heath department.

“We haven’t seen cancellations in bookings so far, but there may be, if restrictions come into force. It is worrisome that some travellers, despite testing negative before boarding a flight, have tested positive after landing. It is said that they will spend their holiday in an isolation facility,” Dias said. Anupam Kumar, Director, Caper India that handles Kazakhstan tourists, said that all schedules stand as of Wednesday.

Presently, Goa is receiving charters from Russia— one in ten days and from Kazakhstan— three once a week. Charters from the UK too were scheduled to arrive in Goa from mid-last last month, there were arrivals after England was categorised “at risk” country by India, requiring all travellers from there, to be staying in 14-day quarantine, irrespective of whether they tested positive or negative for Covid-19.

Hotelier Savio Messias said that it is almost certain that Goa will not receive any charter flight from the UK during the ongoing season though earlier stakeholders were expecting some positive development by mid-January. With the Omicron variant leading the rise in cases across the globe, it is unlikely that everything will be back to normal very soon.

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