Omicron variant: Now, Gujarat imposes curbs on passengers from ‘at risk’ nations

  • The Union ministry has classified a total of nine countries as ‘at risk' following concerns being raised about the new variant of the virus, designated as Omicron.
The Union ministry has classified a total of nine countries as ‘at risk' following concerns being raised about the new variant of the virus, designated as Omicron. (Representational image)
The Union ministry has classified a total of nine countries as ‘at risk' following concerns being raised about the new variant of the virus, designated as Omicron. (Representational image)
Published on Nov 27, 2021 07:30 PM IST
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Written by Shubhangi Gupta | Edited by Sohini Goswami, Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad

As fears over the new variant of Coronavirus ‘omicron’ sweeps the nation, the Gujarat government on Saturday made Covid-19 tests mandatory upon arrival for passengers arriving from countries categorised as 'at risk' by the Union ministry of health and family welfare. The test has been made mandatory for passengers who are not fully vaccinated, a senior government official said.

"As per the letter issued to us on Friday by the Union Health Ministry, RT-PCR test is mandatory for all incoming travelers who do not have vaccination certificate," said additional chief secretary (health) Manoj Aggarwal.

A PTI report said those who are fully vaccinated will also be screened at the airport and allowed to proceed if they do not show any symptoms of the infection.

Also read | As omicron cases spread, WHO’s warning to southeast Asian countries

The Union ministry has classified a total of nine countries as ‘at risk' following concerns being raised about the new variant of the virus, designated as Omicron.

The countries designated 'at risk' include the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand and Zimbabwe.

The Centre has asked states to follow the November 11 guidelines issued in this regard. According to the latest rules, if travelers from countries categorised as 'at risk' (and with which India has reciprocal arrangements for mutual acceptance of WHO-approved Covid-19 vaccines) are fully vaccinated, they will have to quarantine themselves for 14 days post-arrival.

If they are partially vaccinated or not vaccinated, they will have to submit samples for Covid-19 test. Such passengers will have to remain in home quarantine for seven days, and will have to take another test on the eighth day of arrival in India.

Also read | Omicron variant: From urging flight ban to increasing testing. Here’s how states are preparing

Earlier in the day, Karnataka and Maharashtra issued similar precautions to tackle the spread of the new variant that is said to be highly transmissible.

The Maharashtra government has made it mandatory for domestic travellers to either be fully vaccinated or carry a negative RT-PCR certificate valid for 72 hours, while all international passengers coming to the state would be governed according to the Union government’s directions.

The Karnataka government said people arriving from affected countries will be subjected to an RT-PCR test on arrival in Bengaluru.

‘Omicron’, first detected in Botswana in southern Africa on November 9, has since been reported in Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel. The variant is known to be highly contagious and has a number of mutations.

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