Covid19: Govt issues new guidelines for travellers from 'at risk countries' amid Omicron scare
New Delhi/IBNS: Amid concerns over new coronavirus variant 'Omicron', first identified in South Africa, International passengers have to furnish 14 days' travel history and also upload negative Covid test results, the government announced Sunday.
A mandatory 7-day home quarantine has been made compulsory for travellers, who test negative, from countries deemed 'at risk', the Union Health Ministry said.
In wake of the emergence of Omicron, the government issued revised travel guidelines for international passengers. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared Omicron a variant of concern.
The new guidelines will come into effect from December 1, 2021.
Travellers from abroad have to submit a self-declaration on the online Air Suvidha portal and include travel history for the past two weeks, the government said.
They will also be required to upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test report, which should have been conducted within 72 hours of the journey.
A declaration with respect to the authenticity of the Covid test report will also be required.
Manipulated reports will make the passenger liable for a criminal prosecution, the government said in the guidelines.
Travelers from 12 at-risk countries -- the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Israel -- will need to take the Covid test after arrival and wait for results at the airport before leaving or taking any connecting flights.
If the test is negative, they'll follow home quarantine for 7 days, re-test on the 8th day and if negative again, further self-monitor for the next 7 days.
In case such passengers show symptoms while screening, they will be immediately shifted to a health facility.
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 isolated in a separate facility and treated as per the standard protocol.
The contacts of such positive cases will be kept under institutional quarantine or at-home quarantine monitored strictly by the concerned State Government as per standard protocol.
Travellers from countries other than 'at risk' countries will be allowed to leave the airport and shall self-monitor their health for 14 days.
A sub-section (5 percent of total flight passengers) shall be tested post-arrival at random at the airport.