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Airports set to roll out new travel norms

Monika Yadav | | Updated on: Nov 30, 2021
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Health Ministry issues fresh advisory for the screening of travellers from ‘at risk’ countries

With new travel guidelines, including the testing of international passengers from ‘at risk’ countries coming in place from December 1, the Delhi International Airport Ltd has already implemented the new protocols. At present, there are 12 countries that are ‘at risk’, including the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Israel.

Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya informed the Rajya Sabha that no case of the new variant has been detected in India yet. “Omicron variant has been found in 14 countries now. It is being studied here, although it has not been reported in India,” said Mandaviya, adding that all precautions need to be taken against the new variant.

“We have learnt a lot during the pandemic. We have resources and labs to check. At present, no Omicron variant has been reported in India, and all measures have been taken to ensure this variant does not reach the country,” he said.

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired a high-level meeting with Niti Ayog, ICMR, Bureau of Immigration, representatives from the Ministry of External Affairs and officials from the States and Union Territories, and emphasised on rigorous surveillance of international passengers.

He asked the States to ramp up testing for the timely detection of infected cases. According to the ICMR, Omicron cannot escape RT-PCR and RAT (rapid antigen test).

Home quarantine

States followed suit with Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar underlining that RT-PCR testing has been made mandatory for around 2,500 international passengers who arrive in Karnataka every day.

Speaking to reporters after the technical advisory committee meeting, Sudhakar said that those who test negative will have to undergo home quarantine for seven days.

Airports across the country have geared up to implement the new protocols. “We have already made the arrangement for 1,400 passengers at the airport. Currently, about 10,000 passengers arrive at the Delhi Airport in 24 hours. We have made an arrangement for the RT-PCR test, along with their snacks and drinks,” said Delhi airport official.

“The passengers cannot leave the airport unless the RT-PCR report is generated. They need to remain seated for 4 to 6 hours at the airport, and they also have to be given separate space. So, we had to increase the space as the passenger load increased a little from earlier,” said the official. Meanwhile, he also said that the airport has made arrangement in such a way that passengers could be relieved of all formalities at the earliest.

Airport officials said that if any passenger is tests positive, then that candidate would be handed over to the Delhi Disaster Management Authority for further course of action. “As per new government guidelines, passengers must wait for their results to be released before they can leave the airport terminal building. Bangalore Airport has always ensured adherence to Covid protocol during the passengers’ waiting period inside the terminal. We are working closely with all airlines and other stakeholders to implement the new procedures and minimise inconvenience to passengers,” a Bangalore International Airport Ltd’s spokesperson told BusinessLine .

(With inputs from Bengaluru Bureau)

Published on December 01, 2021

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