Covid-19 mutant strains: Civil aviation ministry releases updated SOP
With cases of the South Africa and Brazil variants of the Sars-CoV-2 virus being detected in India, the Union ministry of Civil Aviation on Wednesday released updated standard operating procedure (SOP) for international passengers arriving in India. The updated SOP, the ministry said, will come in effect at 11: 59 pm on February 22.
"Attention Passengers! To reduce the risk of importation of mutant strains of SARS-CoV-2, SOP for International Passengers arriving in India have been updated in supersession of all guidelines on the subject since 2 Aug20. The new SOP will be in effect on 23:59 hrs on 22nd Feb,21," the ministry posted on its official Twitter handle.
The updated SOP consists of parts A and B; the former is for all international travellers arriving in India except those arriving in flights originating in the United Kingdom, Europe and Middle East. Part B, meanwhile, is for all international travellers coming/transiting through flights originating from these places.
Part A of the SOP is divided into four sections-planning for travel, before boarding, during travel and on arrival. When planning for travel to India, passengers are required to submit a self-declaration form and provide a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test report. They are also required to submit an undertaking that they would follow the decision of an appropriate authority to undergo home quarantine for 14 days. For those arriving in the country in the event of a death in their family, no negative RT-PCR report is required.
Upon arrival, passengers will undergo thermal screening and those found symptomatic will be isolated immediately.
Travellers from the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa, who have to take a connecting flight, will have to give their sample at a designated area at the airport and exit only after testing negative, which may take between six-eight hours.
The SOP has been prepared by the Ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW), the aviation ministry said. On Tuesday, the health ministry said that four cases of the South Africa strain and one of the Brazil strain have been detected in the country. 187 cases of the UK strain have been found, Balram Bhargava, director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said.
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