Union Health Ministry issues revised guidelines for international travelers

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –While the country reported 8,309 new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, the Union Ministry of Health on Monday issued the revised ‘Guidelines for International arrivals’ in view of reported cases of new SARS-CoV-2 variant (Omicron) across the world.

The new guidelines shall come into effect on December 1 at 00.01 Hours.

In continuation of the proactive and risk based approach for management of Covid-19 pandemic, Union Ministry of Health issued these guidelines, said a statement of the health ministry.

The updated guidelines require all travelers (irrespective of Covid-19 vaccination status) coming to India from countries identified as ‘countries at-risk’ to mandatorily undergo post-arrival COVID-19 testing at airport on arrival in addition to pre-departure COVID-19 testing undertaken 72 hours before the departure, it stated.

For passengers found positive in these tests, they will be isolated and treated as per the clinical management protocol besides their samples also taken for Whole Genome Sequencing, the statement informed.

The passengers found negative can depart the airport but have to undergo home isolation for 7 days, followed by repeat testing on 8th day of arrival in India, followed by 7 days of self-monitoring, it instructed.

Further, in view of reports of increasing number of countries reporting the Omicron variant, the guidelines also mandate that 5% of the travelers coming from countries which are not in the ‘at risk category’ will also be tested on random basis at the airports for Covid-19, the statement mentioned.

Samples of all individuals testing positive for Covid-19, either at airports under home isolation or during random sampling, will also be sent for Whole Genomic Sequencing at identified INSACOG network laboratories to determine the presence of SARS-CoV-2 variants (including Omicron).

The B.1.1.529 variant (Omicron) was first reported to WHO from South Africa on November 24.

The WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) 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 and Family Welfare.

Meanwhile, 9,905 recoveries in the last 24 hours increased the total recoveries in India to 3,40,08,183.

The country’s recovery rate currently at 98.34% is the highest since March 2020.

Active cases of Covid-19 in the country stands at 1,03,859 which is the lowest in 544 days.

States have also been advised for 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.

While the health ministry continues to closely follow the evolving nature of pandemic, strict adherence to COVID Appropriate Behavior (use of mask/face cover, physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene) and undertaking Covid-19 vaccination remain the mainstay for managing COVID-19 at the community level, the health ministry statement further said.

 

(India News Network )

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