Amid a surge in the COVID-19 cases, the Central government on Friday announced a seven-day mandatory home quarantine for all international arrivals in the country.
All the international arrivals in the country will have to observe a seven-day mandatory home quarantine with effect from January 11 till further orders. As per the order issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday, travellers from specified countries at risk will at first, submit a sample for the post-arrival COVID-19 test at the point of arrival (self-paid). Such travellers will be required to wait for their test results at the arrival airport before leaving or taking a connecting flight.
“If tested negative they will follow, home quarantine for seven days and shall undertake RT-PCR test on the eighth day of arrival in India. Travellers shall also be required to upload results of repeat RT-PCR test for COVID-19 done on eighth day on Air Suvidha portal. If negative, they will further self-monitor their health for next seven days. However, if such travellers are tested positive, their samples should be further sent for genomic testing at INSACOG laboratory network,” read the order copy.
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“They shall be managed at isolation facility and treated as per laid down standard protocol including contact tracing mentioned. The contacts of such positive case should be kept under home quarantine monitored strictly by the concerned State Government as per laid down protocol,” it added.
Travellers from countries excluding those from at-risk countries will follow the ministry’s guidelines as well. At first, a sub-section (two per cent of the total flight passengers) shall undergo post-arrival testing at random at the airport on arrival. These two per cent of such travellers in each flight shall be identified by the concerned airlines (preferably from different countries). Further, laboratories shall prioritize testing of samples from such travellers.
“All travellers (including those two per cent who were selected for random testing on arrival and were found negative) will undergo home quarantine for seven days and shall undertake RT-PCR test on the eighth day of arrival in India. Travellers shall also be required to upload results of repeat RT-PCR test for COVID-19 done on eighth day on Air Suvidha portal (to be monitored by the respective States/UTs). If negative, they will further self-monitor their health for next seven days. However, if such travellers are tested positive, their samples should be further sent for genomic testing at INSACOG laboratory network. They shall be managed at isolation facility and treated as per laid down standard protocol including contact tracing,” the Health Ministry said.
International travellers arriving through seaports/land ports will also have to undergo the same protocol as above, except that facility for online registration is not available for such passengers currently. Such travellers shall submit the self-declaration form to the concerned authorities of the Government of India at seaports/land ports on arrival.
Children under five years of age are exempted from both pre and post-arrival testing. However, if found symptomatic for COVID-19 on arrival or during the home quarantine period, they shall undergo testing and treated as per laid down protocol.
As per the Health ministry, the global trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to decline with certain regional variations. The need to monitor the continuously changing nature of the virus and the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) must still remain in focus.
The existing guidelines for international arrivals in India have been formulated taking a risk-based approach. The existing guidelines have been revised in view of reporting of a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.1.529; named Omicron) which has been classified as a Variant of Concern by the World Health Organization.
Meanwhile, India reported 1,17,100 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the daily positivity rate in the country to 7.74 per cent, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday. With this, the country’s COVID-19 case tally has gone up to 3,52,26,386 including 3,71,363 active cases.
According to the ministry, the country has so far reported 3,007 cases of Omicron of which 1,199 have been recovered.