Omicron (B.1.1.529), a new variant of Coronavirus, has left the world scared once again. The new variant has been detected in South Africa, Brazil, UK, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel. Though India has not reported any cases of the new variant yet, the country is taking all the precautions to avoid another wave.
The Indian health ministry had proposed to resume international flights on December 15 but on Sunday, the government issued some new guidelines for foreign travellers making the RT-PCR test mandatory for those coming from COVID ‘at-risk countries’ on arrival at the airport. The COVID report should be authentic, in case of manipulated reports, the passenger will be liable for criminal prosecution.
Those who test positive will immediately be isolated and their samples would be sent further for genomic testing at the INSACOG laboratory network. For those testing negative, a seven-day home-quarantine and PCR test on the eighth day is mandatory. Travellers will also be asked to give their travel details for the past 14 days.
The ministry’s statement said, “A sub-section (5% of total flight passengers) shall undergo post-arrival testing at random at the airport on arrival”.
Only asymptomatic travellers shall be allowed to board the flight after thermal screening. Aarogya Setu app is a must.
“Travellers from specified countries at risk will follow the protocol as detailed below: 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,” reads the statement
The new rules will come into effect from 1 December till further notice.