- Centre on Sunday issued revised guidelines for arrivals from foriegn countries.
- Arrivals from ' countries at risk' to be subjected to enhanced testing protocols.
- Passengers from non risk countries also to be subjected to random screening.
New Delhi: India issued revised guidelines for international arrivals in view of spiking cases of Omicron globally.As a continuous and proactive risk based approach for curtailing the spread of COVID-19, the union ministry on Sunday revised its travel guidelines for all international passengers irrespective of their vaccination status with effect from December 1st.
As per the revised guidelines, all arrivals from countries ‘at risk’ are mandated to undergo RT-PCR post arrival in addition to predeparture testing conducted 72 hours prior to their flight. In case of reporting infection, the passenger will be isolated and treated as per the protocol. Moreover their samples would aslo be subjected to genome sequencing. For passengers resulting negative at home isolation for seven days, with screening on eigth day followed by self monitoring for 7 days is listed.
In purview of the striking rise in countries reporting Omicron, the centre has also announced to hold random screening for 5% of travellers arriving from countries classified as ‘not at risk’. Samples of all individuals testing positive for Covid-19, either at airports under home isolation or during random sampling, will also be sent for Whole Genomic Sequencing at identified INSACOG network laboratories to determine the presence of SARS-CoV-2 variants (including Omicron).
The B.1.1.529 variant (Omicron) was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 November 2021 and the WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) on 26th November classified it as VoC as the mutation was expected to be potentially transmissable and capable of escaping counter for human immunity. As the cases flared up across the globe the Union Ministry has been monitoring the emerging evidence.States have been adviced to ramp up their screening on arrivals and ensure augmentation of health infrastructure.
While Union Ministry of Health continues to closely follow the evolving nature of pandemic, strict adherence to COVID Appropriate Behavior (use of mask face cover, physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene) and undertaking Covid-19 vaccination remain the mainstay for managing COVID-19 at the community level.