After the Nepal Airlines (NA) found that several of its passengers carrying negative PCR test results had tested positive upon arrival at destination countries, the national flag carrier has announced that it will accept negative PCR test certificates issued by government labs only.

Passengers carrying false negative reports had led to NA being banned at some foreign airports.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) on first week of November had raised questions about the credibility of private labs in the country after NA was banned thrice because several passengers, carrying negative test reports, it flew to Hong Kong tested positive for COVID-19 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.

NA was suspended from operating Kathmandu-Hong Kong flights for the third time on November 12 after another batch of its passengers tested positive for the coronavirus on arrival. The ban will remain until November 25.

Similarly, several airports at United Arab Emirates have also raised concern over the reliability of test reports issued by Nepal for passengers.

CAAN had earlier expressed concern that such ‘false negative certificates’ could trigger foreign governments to ban NA from flying to their countries for defying COVID-19 norms.

NA’s board of directors last week passed a decision to accept only negative COVID-19 test results produced by government labs issued not more than 72 hours before departure and the decision has been sent to the Ministry of Health for approval.