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As Omicron worries mount, India issues revised guidelines for international travellers

  • Irrespective of vaccination status, travellers from ‘countries at-risk’ will have to undergo post-arrival Covid testing at airport; several countries have enforced travel curbs due to emergence of Omicron, classified a variant of concern

New Delhi: In wake of the concerns triggered globally by the emergence of Omicron, the Union Ministry of Health issued revised guidelines for international travellers coming to India from countries that have been designated as ‘countries at risk’.

As per the revised guidelines, issued on Sunday, all travellers, irrespective of their vaccination status, will have to undergo Covid-19 test prior to departure as well as upon arrival at the airport. The pre-departure test must not be older than 72 hours.

Passengers found positive will be isolated and treated as per the clinical management protocol. Their samples will be taken for Whole Genome Sequencing.

Those found negative will have to undergo home isolation for seven days, followed by repeat testing on eighth day of arrival in India, followed by seven days of self-monitoring.

The new guideline will come into effect on December 1.


Random testing on travellers from non-risk countries as well

With more cases of Omicron infection, it has been decided that 5 per cent of travellers from countries currently not considered at risk will be tested randomly at airports.

The Omicron variant of coronavirus was first reported from South Africa on November 24.

The WHO on November 26 classified it as ‘Variant of Concern’ (VoC) in view of large number mutations noted in the variant, some of which may make this mutation more transmissible and have immune escape behaviour.

The emerging evidence on the issue is being monitored by Union Ministry of Health.

States have also been advised rigorous surveillance of international passengers, enhanced testing, monitoring the hotspots of Covid-19, ensuring augmentation of health infrastructure, including undertaking samples for whole genome sequencing.



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