Long queues were seen at railway stations, state borders and airports in Mumbai on Wednesday, with people waiting to get screened for the coronavirus, as Maharashtra’s new travel rules kicked in.
Depending on their mode of travel, passengers from Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Goa have to show they are negative or asymptomatic.
In Mumbai, at 12:30 pm a train arrived from Bikaner, Rajasthan with 900 passengers.
Municipal staff, along with railway police were ready to screen each one. People with symptoms were then sent for an antigen test.
Many people got themselves tested and did not seem to complain.
But there were few who were not comfortable. Like Radha who came from Bikaner with her 75-year-old mother.
“No, my mother is fine. There is no Covid in our village. She did not even go out during these months,” she said.
But it was a task for BMC officers to convince them.
“We are screening everyone and whoever are symptomatic we are getting their RAT (Rapid Antigen Test) done. But a challenge is many a times they are not ready, and we have to convince them. That’s a challenge,” said Dr. Apurva, who was stationed at Dadar station.
As per railway authorities, in the last two days, after the announcement of screening and tests, the daily cancellations on Western Railway rose by 50 per cent while that on central railway by 25 per cent but they hope this was just initial jitters.
Railway officers also say it is difficult to identify people who may have diverted their travel through a safe state.
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But at the airport it is more disciplined. However, it was taking longer. Rajender’s sister whose flight arrived from Delhi was waiting for his sister for more than 3 hours at the airport.
“Airport authorities have stopped all the people an getting their tests done. And they are charging ₹ 1,400 and it is not good actually,” he said.