Why do a COVID Test before your Trek

Ever since the Uttarakhand government removed the requirement for a COVID negative certificate amongst incoming tourists, trekkers have been asking us whether they must do a test.

Here is our advice.

We strongly recommend that trekkers do a COVID test before they travel to Uttarakhand.

We recommend that trekkers do an RT-PCR test not less than 96 hours before their travel and carry COVID negative certificates on their travel.

Doing a test strongly reduces the probability of trekkers coming to the mountains as asymptomatic carriers. It makes it a lot safer for all trekkers in the team.

Lots of trekkers have recently tested themselves before going to the slopes. Several of them have tested positive (much to their own surprise). If they hadn’t done a test, it would have gone undetected. This could be a big risk for fellow trekkers.

Here’s what trekkers are saying:

Aman Rayjada
I just got my Covid-19 RT-PCR test report and surprisingly, it has turned out to be positive. I’m sharing the report for possible reference.

Given this, I’d like to herewith cancel the trek and be home-quarantined for the next 2 weeks to avoid any spread. Please help facilitate the same.

On a related note, I am glad that IndiaHikes has kept the test mandatory. Otherwise, asymptomatic cases like mine couldn’t be detected and I would not have found out about it myself.

Himadri Giri
I feel that taking the covid test is an utmost requirement before going into a trek. This applies for the support staff also. As I have experienced, we spend these 6-7 days as a family. Starting from sharing a tent, having food together, the post camping chitchats and many other things. Since the covid-19 virus is carried by a human body taking the test makes sure the safety of us and also the trekking community.

– In almost every government hospital the test is available now, and also there are some private labs. I have got mine done in a private lab. It was really simple. I just stated that I will be travelling to a different state and for that I need my test done. And within 48 hours I got the report in my mail. I am not so sure about the process in a govt hospital.

– I am writing this after 5 days of my test and still I am asymptomatic. So if I wouldn’t have taken the test I wouldn’t know that I am infected.

– I would request all the trekkers to take the test as everyone knows that when we are gaining altitude the oxygen level drops and this virus affects our breathing. Which can become a serious issue if we do not know whether we are affected or not.

What happens if you don’t do a COVID test?

  • Those who do not come with the test are mandatorily required by the state government to do a rapid antigen test in the Dehradun airport.
  • The test costs Rs 800
  • They are expected to wait 20-30 minutes until they get the results.
  • If the test report comes negative, they are free to travel within Uttarakhand
  • If the test report comes positive, however, they have to immediately quarantine themselves in the Raipur COVID centre, Dehradun, for 14 days

What is the official process at the Dehradun Airport

Report sent in by Indiahikes Trek Leader Dhaval Jajal on September 29, 2020

What is happening at checkposts across the state of Uttarakhand

As reported by Dhaval Jajal, Indiahikes Trek Leader on September 30, 2020

Advice for trekkers travelling to Uttarakhand from Indiahikes Trek Leader Vivek Saini

Our expectations from trekkers who come without an RT-PCR test:

We understand that getting an RT-PCR test from your city might not be easy. Which is why we have not made it mandatory for all trekkers.

But here are our safety guidelines for those without a test:

  • Anyone coming without an RT-PCR COVID test is expected to take a tent to themselves. It’s not wise for those who haven’t tested themselves staying at close quarters for over 8-9 with other trekkers. If you’re a solo trekker and have to take a single stay (room + tent), there will be a charge of Rs 2,200 per tent for the entire duration of the trek.
  • If a trekker without a COVID negative certificate (RT-PCR test) is showing any symptoms of COVID on the trek (heavy cough, breathing difficulty, high temperature) on the trek, they will be evacuated immediately from the slope.

Note: Please note that the altitude and cold weather causes similar symptoms on treks. Our Trek Leaders are trained to provide medical attention to this immediately. There’s a much higher reassurance amongst those who have a COVID negative certificate that these symptoms can be attributed to the temperature and altitude.

We will be extra cautious when it comes to trekkers who are coming to the slopes without an RT-PCR test. And we’d like trekkers to understand that.

If you have any questions, drop in a comment and we’ll help you out.

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6 thoughts on “Why do a COVID Test before your Trek

  1. I heard that tourists can enter uttarakhand through the checkpost border during weekdays only not in the weekends…is this correct ?

  2. Hello. I have a positive CoVID antibody test result. I was down with symptoms back in June and eventually got myself tested for antibodies a month later and it came out positive.

    Will I still have to take an RT-PCR test or an antigen test?

    1. Hi! If you have done this test, then carry a screenshot of the report on your phone so that it’s easily accessible. You can show this to any authorities who ask.