All the international travelers arriving at Indian will have to undergo mandatory RT-PCR testing at the airports, the union government said on Wednesday while setting new set of rules for the international passengers, amid the concerns of new ‘Omicron’ variant of Covid-19.
According to the health ministry, the countries including UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel, are ‘high-risk’ countries and the travelers from these countries can be super-spreader of the virus.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday advised the states not to be lax and to keep a close watch on international travelers arriving from various airports, ports and land borders.
After giving the mandatory RT-PCR samples, the passengers from high-risk countries will have to wait at the Indian airports until the test report comes out, the new guidelines said, adding that at least five percent of passengers arriving on flights from other countries will be screened for coronavirus.
Those testing negative for the virus will be asked to home-quarantine for seven days as a precautionary measure. However, they will have to take a retest on eighth day.
However, if the on arrival test report comes out to be positive, the samples will be sent for genomic sequencing test and the passenger will be isolated as per the protocol.
The new guidelines also said that passengers arriving in India must submit the self-declaration form on the online ‘Air Suvidha Portal’ before boarding the flight, besides submitting their last 14 days travel history. Also, it is mandatory for the passengers to upload negative RT-PCR test reports on the portal before boarding the flight.
The test results will also be approved if it has been conducted within 72 hours prior of the scheduled flight.
Meanwhile, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi said on Tuesday that the Covid-19 epidemic would be discussed in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. He said the discussion would be short-lived. This discussion will be under Rule 193, under which members may request details about the new omicron variant.