Amidst the Omicron scare, India on Tuesday joined the list of countries that announced the new travel restrictions with the increasing number of cases. Followed by a high-level meeting to review public health preparedness with states and UTs, the Central government today issued new rules for international travellers which will be effective from midnight.
As per the new guidelines, the travellers from ‘countries at-risk’ will need to take the Covid-19 test post-arrival and wait for results at the airport. If tested negative, they’ll follow home quarantine for 7 days, re-test should be taken on the 8th day and if negative again, further, self-monitor will be done for the next 7 days. State officials will physically visit their homes to ensure effective home isolation.
If found positive for the virus, passengers will be isolated and treated, and their samples will immediately be sent to the INSACOG Labs network, a multi-laboratory, multi-agency, pan-India network set up by the government to monitor genomic variations in the SARS-CoV-2, for genome sequencing to determine the strain of the virus. States will then undertake contact tracing of these positive individuals and follow up for 14 days.
Children under five years of age remain 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 be treated as per laid down protocol. International passengers arriving through seaports/land ports will also have to undergo the same protocol, except that facility for online registration is not available for such travellers currently.
The list of countries deemed “at-risk” for now includes the United Kingdom, all 44 countries in Europe, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Israel.