As several Nepal Airlines (NA) passengers carrying negative test reports for COVID-19 tested positive at the destination airports, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has raised questions about the credibility of private labs in the country.
CAAN expressed concern that such ‘false certificates’ could trigger foreign governments to ban NA from flying to their countries for defying COVID-19 norms. NA so far has been banned twice after several passengers, carrying negative test reports, it flew to Hong Kong were tested positive upon arrival.
On October 3, six passengers on an NA flight to Hong Kong tested positive upon arrival which cost the airlines two-week suspension by Hong Kong authorities for violating COVID-19 norms.
Similarly, nine NA passengers to Hong Kong on an October 22 flight, who had twice tested negative during their quarantine period, were among the 11 new COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong. The national flag carrier was banned by Hong Kong authorities yet again for two weeks, which will end on Wednesday.
According to director general of CAAN, Rajan Pokhrel, several airports at United Arab Emirates have also raised concern over the reliability of test reports issued by Nepal for passengers.
United Arab Emirates resumed international flights on June 23 and allowed tourists to visit Dubai from July 7 with a condition that they carry negative PCR test report issued by an officially recognised testing centre, no more than 96 hours before their scheduled departure to Dubai International Airport.
The Dubai civil aviation authority toughened its regulations from September-end after several people entered the country with fake certificates.
NA requires international travelers to procure negative PCR test results before flying, however, it has not listed specific labs for the test.