Mandatory RT-PCR tests for arrivals from China, 4 more nations amid Covid worry
A massive spike in Covid cases in China has prompted concerns in India too over the possibility of a fourth coronavirus wave.
RT-PCR tests will be mandatory for those arriving from China, South Korea, Japan, and Thailand, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Saturday as the government takes stock of preparedness to check the spread of coronavirus. This comes a day after the Union Health Minister held a meeting with state ministers to discuss the current situation and ensure that the country is ready with all measures in place. A huge spike in cases in China this month has caught massive attention. Nearly 18 per cent of the the country's population is said to be affected by the virus in the first 20 days of December, as per reports.
The Air Suvidha forms filing to declare current health status shall also be made compulsory for international passengers arriving from these countries. The Air Suvidha self-declaration form is a digital health and travel document that is currently required from all travelers who wish to enter India.
On Friday, Mandaviya - following a meeting with state ministers - tweeted: "Emphasized on the need to be alert in COVID-19 review meeting with State Health Ministers. There is no need to panic. We have 3 years of experience in pandemic management. The Centre Govt will provide all the support to combat COVID-19. We will take action as per the needs. (sic)".
He further added: "Also, stressed on combating the pandemic with a pre-emptive & proactive approach by increasing testing, genome sequencing and following COVID-appropriate behaviour. (sic)"
As government continues to review health infrastructure, a senior Union health ministry official, requesting anonymity, said:
“We are keeping a close watch at the global Covid situation on a daily basis and we will take what ever measures are required to ensure that the disease does not spread in the country."
“We do not have any reliable Covid data to go by from China but what we are hearing the case load is high and it is increasing; Japan has also seen a sudden surge in cases and we are being extremely vigilant,” added the official.
The health ministry also released guidelines on Friday for the upcoming festive season asking people to celebrate with caution.
India has been recording a few hundred cases daily despite lakhs of cases being recorded globally.