Omicron (B.1.1.529), a new variant of the coronavirus, has once again scared the world. The new variant has been detected in South Africa, Brazil, UK, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel. Although India has yet to report any cases of the new variant, the country is taking every precaution to avoid another wave.
India’s health ministry had offered to resume international flights on December 15, but on Sunday the government released new guidelines for foreign travelers making RT-PCR testing mandatory for those arriving from ‘countries at risk’ for COVID. upon arrival at the airport. The COVID report must be genuine, in case of manipulated reports, the passenger will be liable to criminal prosecution.
Those who test positive will be immediately isolated and their samples will be sent further for genomic testing to the INSACOG laboratory network. For those who test negative, a seven-day home quarantine and a PCR test on the eighth day are mandatory. Travelers will also be asked to provide details of their trip for the past 14 days.
The ministry statement said: “A subsection (5% of the total number of passengers) must undergo testing after random arrival at the airport on arrival.”
Only asymptomatic travelers will be allowed to board the flight after a thermal check. The Aarogya Setu app is a must.
“Travelers from specified at-risk countries will follow the protocol detailed below: Submission of a sample for COVID-19 testing after arrival at the point of arrival (self-paid). These travelers will have to wait for the results of their test at the arrival airport before leaving or taking a connecting flight, ”the statement said.
The new rules will take effect from December 1 until further notice.