WITH AN eye on reports from across the world about Omicron, the new Covid “variant of concern”, the Central Government Sunday issued revised guidelines for international travelers arriving from Europe, including the UK, and 11 other “at-risk countries, mandating testing on arrival, home quarantine for seven days on a negative result, and a retest on the eighth day.
The Health Ministry directed all states to ensure that for international travelers from countries other than those labelled “at-risk”, five per cent of a flight's total number of passengers will have to undergo random testing on arrival at airports.
The Centre has also decided to review the date of resumption of scheduled international commercial flights “as per the evolving global scenario. On Friday, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had announced the resumption of these flights from December 15, after a 21-month gap.
The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on testing and surveillance of incoming international passengers, especially for those countries in the at risk category, will also be reviewed.
The Health Ministry has laid out five steps for international travellers from countries “at risk”:
They will have to submit a sample for a Covid test at the point of arrival and wait for the result before leaving or taking a connecting flight
If they test negative, they will have to follow home quarantine for seven days. This will be followed by a retest on the eighth day of arrival. They will have to self-monitor their health for the next seven days.
If travellers test positive, their samples will be sent for genomic testing at the INSACOGlaboratory network.
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