RT-PCR Testing Restrictions for Long Distance Train Passengers


Government of West Bengal
Home & Hill Affairs Department and Parliamentary Affairs Department
325, Sarat Chatterjee Road Howrah 711 102
Ph. 2214 5656; Fax: 2214 3001

No. 193/HS/PS/2021 Dated 5th May, 2021

Shri Suneet Sharma
Chairman & CEO
Railway Board Government of India
New Delhi

Subject: RT-PCR testing restrictions on long distance train passengers coming from outside to West Bengal -Reg


You are aware that there has been a sharp rise in the number of Covid 19 cases being reported from all over the country including West Bengal in the recent past. Further, a large number of districts/ sub-districts across the country are showing test positivity higher than 10% thereby getting classified as local containment zones as per para 4 of the annexure to the MHA, Gol order No 40-3/2020-DM-I(A) dated 29th April, 2021 read with the DO No Z. 28015/85/2021-DM Cell dated 25th April of the Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GoI.

Considering such alarming rise of cases in this pandemic situation and in order to ensure that the chain of transmission of Covid virus is broken, I am to inform that, as per the provisions of section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, and in accordance with the intensive action and strategic areas of intervention identified in para 6 of the aforesaid order of the National Disaster Management Authority, the state government has decided to make it mandatory for all long distance train passengers coming to West Bengal from outside the state to possess an RT-PCR negative test report for a test conducted within 72 hours of such train departure. It is requested that such restrictions may be imposed with immediate effect for a period of two weeks.

Further, notwithstanding such RT-PCR negative report, proper thermal and health screening of all passengers must also be conducted by the railway staff before boarding. A detailed SOP is also enclosed along with which may be followed by the Railway authorities.

Accordingly, Railway Board may kindly instruct all concerned Railway authorities to take necessary steps so that only such negatively tested passengers are allowed to book tickets on long distance trains to West Bengal.

Yours faithfully,

Sd/- H. K. Dwivedi, IAS
Additional Chief Secretary

Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) for arrival of passengers by long distance trains to West Bengal

The Government of West Bengal hereby issues the following directions as Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) for arrival of passengers by long distance trains to West Bengal:

1. Railways to ensure that ticketing is done only on verification of the RT-PCR test report for a test conducted within 72 hours of boarding, e-ticketing/ mobile ticketing should be promoted as it becomes easier to do the tracing of close contacts through mobile numbers.

2. All passengers to compulsorily wear masks properly throughout the journey and at the railway stations.

3. All passengers must maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet at all times and observe proper social distancing norms while boarding/ alighting from the trains or when getting tested/ checked at the stations when needed.

4. Passengers to be advised to arrive at the Station well before time of train departure as to ensure no crowding for thermal scanning at the entry points.

5. On arrival at their destination, the traveling passengers will have to adhere to such protocols as follows:

a. In view of the surge of COVID-19 cases in, it is now mandatory for passengers coming from other States/ UTs to carry RT-PCR negative certificates not older than 72 hours prior to boarding of train.

b. All passengers who travelled from other States/UTs with RT-PCR negative certificates not older than 72 hours prior to departure, will have to self-monitor their health for next 7 days at home. During this period, if the individual develops fever, cough, breathlessness, they shall visit the nearest health facility or get in touch with the state covid helpline number

c. It is expected that Railways will establish thermal scanners at all exits at the earliest, for screening of passengers from all States into West Bengal and checking of negative RT-PCR test report of each passenger either before departure of the train or during the journey.

d. In case, any passenger is found to have boarded the train without the requisite RT-PCR report, the railway authorities shall ensure an RT-PCR test to be conducted on arrival and the details of such passenger shall be communicated to the state nodal officer in the Transport department.

e. Passengers found Symptomatic during health screening will be taken for testing. If they are positive they will be taken to a COVID Care Centre for Management as per the extant protocol of the state health department.

6. Railways shall appoint nodal officer(s) for State level co-ordination who shall be responsible for coordinating with State Transport Department for the purposes of this SOP.

7. Railways shall share the data with the State Health Department of the passengers that are travelling on the said trains and who are scheduled to disembark at various stations in West Bengal on each day at the earliest, at least 4 hours prior to such arrival of the train.

8. Railway authorities should announce on each station en-route, about the systems that have been put in place so that each passenger gets informed about the rules to follow, informing them of ‘Covid Appropriate Behaviour’ expected (i.e. critical precautions that are required to be taken) and dangers to themselves and their family members if they fail to do so, and the health protocols at the destination etc.

The above measures shall come into immediate effect and will remain in force for a period of two weeks or till further orders.

No. 193-HS dated 05.05.2021, Source