At Airports, New Omicron Travel Rules – PCR Tests, Quarantine: 10 Points – Unblendednews

At Airports, New Omicron Travel Rules – PCR Tests, Quarantine: 10 Points

New Delhi:
Starting today, airports across the country have enforced strict quarantine and testing rules for international passengers, including those from ‘at risk’ countries, amid growing concern over the entry and spread of the Omicron Covid strain.

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

  1. At Maharashtra’s Mumbai airport, all international passengers arriving from ‘at-risk’ countries will have to undergo a mandatory seven-day institutional quarantine. They will also be required to take three RT-PCR tests – on the second, fourth and seventh days after arrival.

  2. The order mandating institutional quarantine (at the passenger’s expense) was released late last night, leading to concern about people being caught unaware and large crowds building up at the airport. Institutional quarantine has been ordered, the state has explained, because tests conducted immediately after arrival often return false negative results.

  3. It is unclear if passengers arriving last night (immediately after the order was issued) have also been tested and shifted to mandatory institutional quarantine, or if they were released after returning a negative RT-PCR test at Mumbai airport.

  4. Six passengers from ‘at risk’ countries have already tested Covid positive, the Maharashtra Health Department said this morning. All six are either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic and their samples have been sent for genome sequencing. Contact tracing is underway.

  5. Three of the six have been traced to the Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivali and Meera-Bhayandar areas, with the fourth traced to Pune. Two others – arrivals from Nigeria – have been traced to Pimpri-Chinchwad.

  6. Similarly tight screening rules have been enforced in other airports, including at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. All international arrivals will be tested for COVID-19, with a negative result allowing them to leave the airport but still follow home quarantine protocols for seven days.

  7. Delhi airport tweeted this morning to say the process of screening international arrivals from ‘at-risk’ countries is running smoothly. “Total 1,013 passengers from four ‘at risk’ flights… successfully completed arrival formalities due to availability of Rapid PCR Test along with RTPCR test,” airport authorities said.

  8. International passengers testing Covid positive at Delhi airport will be shifted to the city’s LNJP Hospital and their samples immediately sent for genome sequencing. Those testing negative will have to undergo mandatory home quarantine for seven days, after which they must take another RT-PCR Test.

  9. At Chennai, passengers from ‘at risk’ nations are being tested and can only leave if they return a negative result. As with the Mumbai airport, only two per cent of passengers from other countries are being tested, and they can leave without waiting for the test results. This morning Chennai airport said 88 international passengers have been tested so far, and all 88 have returned negative results.

  10. Existing tests – both rapid antigen and PCR – can pick up signs of Covid even if the infecting strain is Omicron, the government has said. Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has said the Omicron variant is not yet in India, but a senior ICMR doctor told NDTV the strain is likely already here.

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