On Monday, India issued revised guidelines for international travellers in view of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus. The revised guidelines require passengers (irrespective of vaccination status) coming to India from ‘at-risk’ countries to mandatorily undergo COVID-19 testing at the airport upon arrival. The guidelines also mandated all international passengers to submit 14 days travel history and the uploading of negative RT-PCR test reports on the Air Suvidha portal before the journey. The test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey. The revised guidelines come into effect from December 1.
The Union health ministry added that travellers coming from countries deemed “at-risk”, including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel, will need to take the coronavirus test post-arrival and wait for results at the airport before leaving or taking any connecting flights. If tested negative, they have to be in home quarantine for seven days followed by a re-test on the eighth day.
The World Health Organisation has warned that the risks related to Covid variant Omicron are ‘very high,’ reported AFP. Last week, the global health body had designated it as a ‘variant of concern.’
Further guidelines for the travellers from specified Countries ‘at risk’ as detailed below:
Ø Submission of sample for post-arrival COVID-19 test at the point of arrival (self-paid). Such travellers will be required to wait for their test results at the arrival airport before leaving or taking a connecting flight.
Ø If tested negative they will follow home quarantine for 7 days. Re-test on the 8th day of arrival in India and if negative, further self-monitor of their health for next 7 days. However, if such travellers are tested positive, their samples should be sent for genomic testing at INSACOG laboratory network. They shall be managed at a separate isolation facility and treated as per laid down standard protocol including contact tracing. The contacts of such a positive case should be kept under institutional quarantine or at home quarantine monitored strictly by the concerned State Government as per laid down protocol.
Travellers from Countries excluding those Countries at risk, will be allowed to leave the airport and shall self-monitor their health for 14 days’ post arrival. A sub-section (5% of the total flight passengers) shall undergo post-arrival testing at random at the airport on arrival. The cost of testing of such travellers shall be borne by MoCA. If such travellers are tested positive, they shall be managed as per laid down standard protocol and samples would further be sent for genomic testing.
If travelers under home quarantine or self-health monitoring, develop signs and symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19 on re-testing, they will immediately self-isolate and report to their nearest health facility or call National helpline number (1075)/ State Helpline Number.