Omicron: New curbs in place for arrivals from ‘at-risk’ nations at Delhi, Mumbai airports
Several airports across the country, including the ones in Delhi and Mumbai, have imposed new restrictions in the wake of the Union government’s new travel rules for international passengers that is set to come into effect from Wednesday due to the threat from the new Omicron Covid-19 variant.
On Tuesday, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan held a meeting with states and Union territories, during which he asked them to enhance testing against Covid-19 and improve the testing infrastructure. States were also asked to test international passengers arriving from ‘at risk’ countries on their day of arrival and also send samples of people found positive to designated labs for genome sequencing.
Currently, European nations, including the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel have been listed as ‘at risk’ countries by the Union health ministry.
Here are some of the arrangements made at Delhi and Mumbai international airports in view of the new guidelines.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has issued an order regarding international passengers arriving at the airport stating that the Centre’s new guidelines would have to be strictly followed.
Airlines are expected to inform passengers from ‘at risk’ countries that they would be tested upon arrival in Delhi. They would also be subjected to mandatory quarantine, on testing positive, and their samples would be collected for genome sequencing.
If negative, the passengers would be sent for home quarantine for a week and on the eighth day, they would again be tested. On testing negative again, they would be advised self monitoring for another week. However, such restrictions do not apply to those arriving from other countries. Also, children below five year of age are exempted, except if found symptomatic.
A dedicated ward of 40 beds has been created in the Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Hospital for accommodating passengers testing positive.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) in Mumbai on Tuesday said that passengers arriving from the ‘at risk’ countries would be segregated from those arriving from other nations.
Adequate RT-PCR testing facilities for international arrivals in the form of 48 registration counters and 40 sampling booths have been set up, an ANI report said. It also said that these facilities would be ramped up, if the need arises.
To facilitate testing of passengers with connecting flights in Mumbai with shorter time durations, 30 Rapid PCR machines have also been made available.
A large sitting area for arriving passengers, QR codes at various locations at the arrival corridor and amenities like washrooms, food and beverages have also been arranged, the CSMIA said.
Those arriving from ‘at risk’ countries would be subjected to a seven-day institutional quarantine and would be tested for Covid-19 on the second, fourth and seventh days.
(With agency inputs)