British Indian alleges Mumbai airport COVID-19 testing a ‘scam’

A video of a British citizen of Indian origin Manoj Ladwa has gone viral across social media where he is seen accusing that the RTPCR test done at the Mumbai international airport is a “big scam” to “loot passengers”. Ladwa alleged that due RTPCR test at the airport and then his admission to seven hills hospital caused him to miss his father-in-law’s funeral.

Manoj Ladwa, 54, lives in Staines in Britain, where he is director of a construction company, was taken to the Covid ward at Seven Hills Hospital in Andheri, despite having initially told staff at Mumbai international airport he would not go there since he had no Covid symptoms and had tested negative before he boarded the flight from London’s Heathrow airport.

According to Ladwa, the BMC staff refused to let him and other fellow passengers a second RTPCR test carried out in front of him. After a nine-hour long argument at the airport along with 14 other passengers who tested positive from the same Virgin Atlantic flight, Ladwa was taken to seven hills hospital, while his wife was allowed to leave as she tested negative at the airport.

Ladwa and his wife Sharmili had departed Heathrow on December 29 to attend her father’s funeral in Borivali. His father in law Vasant Parikh, 87, had died of lungs cancer on December 28. Ladwa booked flights the same day and they both had an RTPCR test before taking the negative flight. The flight landed in Mumbai at 1.30 am on December 30 and they had to get to Borivali by 8 am for the funeral.

In the video, Ladwa shared via Facebook live, at Mumbai international airport and he is seeing requesting viewers to “speak to anyone they know who can help”. “This is a scam,” he is seen saying in the video. “My wife’s father died 24 hours ago and I am here to get to his funeral. They are denying me an independent test,” he says.

According to BMC officials, Ladwa has now tested negative and will be discharged as per protocol. Officials said that they are following the Covid-19 testing norms as laid down by the state government and civic agency. As per the norms, passengers arriving from countries identified by the government as ‘at-risk’ such as those in Europe including the United Kingdom, are deboarded on priority to undergo RT-PCR test on arrival.

“If this sample is also positive then the collected sample for routine RT-PCR shall be sent immediately for genome sequencing and the passenger shall be directed for institutional quarantine. If the sample is negative, the passenger shall be allowed to go home for mandatory home quarantine for a total period of 7 days. All symptomatic passengers testing positive at the airport are admitted to Seven Hills Hospital. Any such patient preferring admission in a private hospital can be transferred to Bombay Hospital or Breach Candy Hospital,” a BMC circular stated.

“That protocol adopted is as per the exact guidelines given by GOI. He tested positive on arrival. So as per protocol, he was sent to seven hills hospital. Now his repeat RT-PCR has come negative. So he will be discharged. BMC has followed proper protocol,” said P Velrasu, BMC Additional Municipal Commissioner.

Meanwhile, the airport authorities have said that since the testing and laboratory tie-ups are made by the BMC, they are not authorized to comment on the matter, claiming that they have only provided the location and the entire process is carried out by the civic authorities.

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Published on: Monday, January 03, 2022, 10:38 PM IST

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