Omicron Fear: India’s New Covid Guidelines For International Arrivals

The new variant of Covid-19 ‘Omicron’, that is considered to be more dangerous than the Delta variant, is sending shivers across the globe. As the WHO declared it as a variant of concern, countries are on high alert.

The emergence of Omicron and the rise of its cases in South Africa, Netherlands and several other parts, India has taken proactive measures. The Union Health Ministry has revised the rules and Covid-19 guidelines for the international arrivals.

As per the fresh guidelines issued by the government on Sunday, International passengers have to submit 14 days travel history and upload negative Covid test results. Passengers must submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal and mention their travel history for the past two weeks. Also, it is mandatory to upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test report, which should have been conducted within 72 hours of the journey. Another declaration with respect to the authenticity of the Covid test report will also be required, manipulated reports will make the passenger liable for criminal prosecution.

These new guidelines will come into effect from December 1, 2021.

At-Risk Countries

The deemed “at-risk” countries, as of November 26, include countries in Europe including The United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Israel.

Travellers from these “at-risk” countries will also undergo a mandatory 7-day home quarantine if they test negative for the virus, the Union Health Ministry said in revised travel guidelines for international passengers.

If such passengers are found to be symptomatic during screening, they will be immediately isolated and treated at a health facility.

In case, if they test positive, their samples would be sent for genomic testing at the INSACOG laboratory network, a multi-laboratory, multi-agency, pan-India network set up by the government to monitor genomic variations in the SARS-CoV-2.

They will then be moved to a separate isolation facility and treated as per the standard protocol. The contacts of such positive cases will be kept under institutional or home quarantine, monitored strictly by the concerned State Government as per standard protocol.

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