Polio vaccines, RT-PCR tests for all evacuees from Afghanistan: Health ministry

By | Written by Avik Roy, New Delhi
Aug 26, 2021 07:42 PM IST

Over 400 people who have been evacuated from Afghanistan so far were administered anti-polio vaccine owing to high prevalence of the disease in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The health ministry said on Thursday that some of those evacuated from Afghanistan who has tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) have been isolated and are being treated.

People arrive at Hindon Air force Station through an IAF flight from Kabul at Ghaziabad on Sunday.(ANI/file photo)
People arrive at Hindon Air force Station through an IAF flight from Kabul at Ghaziabad on Sunday.(ANI/file photo)

Addressing the media, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the Centre has arranged for RT-PCR tests for the people evacuated from Afghanistan. “Some tested positive and they have been isolated while some people have been sent to hospitals. Many people have been quarantined at ITBP camp at Chhawla, where they will be there for 14 days,” Bhushan said, adding that the government would take a further decision in view of their symptoms.

Bhushan further said that over 400 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan so far, they were administered anti-polio vaccines owing to high the prevalence of the disease in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"Whoever lands (in India) are given anti-polio vaccine because wild polio is still prevalent in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Bhushan said, adding, “We have made arrangement at all airports — be in civil airports or military airbases."

ALSO READ | Jaishankar says Afghan situation critical, evacuation priority at all-party meet

India evacuated 24 of its citizens and 11 Nepalese nationals in a military aircraft from Kabul on Thursday as the situation in the Afghan capital escalated further, weeks after the Taliban laid siege to the city, according to news agency PTI.

On Tuesday, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that India has evacuated 626 people, including 228 citizens and 77 Afghan Sikhs, till Tuesday and the process of repatriation is ongoing.

The Indan government is currently running an emergency operation to evacuate the people from Afghanistan after it fell to the Taliban. The government has allowed exemption from mandatory pre-boarding RT-PCR testing — the norm for international travellers — for people who are being airlifted from the war-torn country.

It has earlier evacuated its embassy personnel, and some Afghan nationals, including Hindus and Sikhs.

Earlier in the day, Union external affairs minister S Jaishankar spoke to leaders of several political parties, including the Congress and the Trinamool Congress, on the latest situation in the war-torn nation after the Taliban seized power. He said India was trying to bring out as many people as possible from Afghanistan and evacuating Indian personnel was a "top priority".

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