All travellers coming from the UK between January 8 and January 30 will be subjected to self-paid RT-PCR tests on arrival according to a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the health ministry on Saturday.
In addition to this, every passenger arriving from the UK will have to produce a COVID-19 negative report from a test which is done 72 hours before the start of their journey added the SOP. The passengers are also asked to submit a self-declaration form on the online portal (www.newdelhiairport.in) at least 72 hours before the scheduled travel.
Even airline authorities have been asked to ensure the availability of a negative test report before boarding. They have been asked to make the passengers aware of the new COVID-19 protocols and the SOPs.
As for passengers who test positive, they will be kept in an institutional isolation facility in a separate (isolation) unit, to be coordinated by the respective State Health Authorities.
“If the genomic sequencing indicates the presence of the new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the patient will continue to remain in a separate isolation unit,” it said. The SOP also added that the patient would be tested on the 14th day, and after having tested positive. They would be kept in the isolation facility till their sample testes negative.
Additionally, if a passenger test COVID-19 positive on arrival, passengers seated in the same row, three rows in front, and three rows behind would also be subjected to institutional quarantine in separate quarantine centres.
The passengers found COVID-19 negative after the airport tests would be advised home quarantine for 14 days. The concerned state or district administration should regularly follow up with them, it said.
India had suspended all flights to and from the UK from December 23 to 31 to check the spread of the mutated variant of COVID-19 virus found there. This mutated strain is also believed to be more contagious than its predecessor. A few days later, the suspension was extended till January 7.
Additionally, per week only 30 flights will operate between India and the UK when services resume from January 8. And this arrangement will continue till January 23, said the Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had on Friday.
Presence of the new UK variant of the virus has already been reported by Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon, and Singapore.
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