‘Why are we delaying?' Kejriwal urges to stop flights from omicron-hit countries

Kejriwal's comments came as the WHO said omicron carried a very high risk of infection surges, adding no deaths had yet been linked to the new variant.
Omicron has now spread to several countries.(File Photo)
Omicron has now spread to several countries.(File Photo)
Published on Nov 30, 2021 09:57 AM IST
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By | Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop flights from countries hit by the omicron variant of the coronavirus, days after placing the same request to the Centre.

“Many countries have stopped incoming flights from Omicron-affected countries. Why are we delaying? Even in the first wave, we had delayed stopping foreign flights. Most of the foreign flights come to Delhi, Delhi gets affected the most. PM sahib please stop flights immediately,” his tweet, roughly translated from Hindi, read.

On Sunday, Kejriwal wrote to PM Modi over the omicron scare.

"Our country has fought a tough fight against Corona for the last one and half years. We should do everything possible to prevent the new variant of concern from entering India,” he said in his letter.

Also read | Amid omicron scare, Karnataka puts nearly 600 passengers under surveillance

"We should do everything possible to prevent the new variant of concern, recently recognised by WHO, from entering India. A number of countries, including the European Union (EU), have suspended travel to the affected regions. I urge you to stop flights from these regions with immediate effect. Any delay in this regard may prove harmful if any affected person enters India," he added.

Several countries have implemented blanket travel bans on all foreigners and some on African nations, specifically South Africa, even as the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday the omicron variant carried a very high risk of infection surges, but said no deaths had yet been linked to the new variant.

Also read | From Pfizer to Moderna: What vaccine makers are saying about omicron jabs

"Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic," the WHO said. The overall global risk related Omicron is " very high," it said.

Kejriwal will also hold a meeting to review the preparedness to deal with omicron and a possible third wave of the coronavirus pandemic later in the day.

"On Tuesday, November 30 at 11 AM, CM @ArvindKejriwal will hold a meeting with the concerned officials to review the preparedness of Delhi in the wake of new COVID-19 variant and third wave," his office tweeted on Monday.

Also read | ‘Be alert to threat of Omicron’: PM Modi warns amid rising concerns

The Delhi government on Monday said RT-PCR tests will be conducted on all passengers arriving from six high-risk countries and samples of those who test positive would be sent for genome sequencing. The decision was taken during the meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) chaired by Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.

News agency ANI reported citing people familiar with the matter, the six omicron-affected countries discussed at the meeting include Belgium, Israel, Hong Kong, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

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