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Kerala builds up vigil on Covid variant Omicron at seaport and airports

Sajeev Kumar | | Updated on: Nov 30, 2021
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Health authorities in Kerala have begun health checking of all international passengers based on the directive by Central Health Ministry

Kerala has strengthened its vigil on airports after the Covid Omicron variant has started raising concern across the world.

The State health authorities have started health checking of all international passengers based on the directive by Central Health Ministry to enforce active surveillance measures at all airports.

S.Suhas, Managing Director, Cochin International Airport Ltd has convened a meeting on Tuesday with all the respective agencies to chalk out an action plan. The airport has started carrying out RT-PCR tests on international passengers by making arrangements to conduct tests for 350 passengers simultaneously and random checks for five per cent of the travellers.

CIAL has been put on high alert in the wake of reports of the spread of the Omicron variant in some countries and checks have been intensified for passengers arriving from Botswana, South Africa, Hong Kong, Brazil, Bangladesh, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, and Israel, he said.

List of ‘risk’ nations

Based on the protocol, the Central government has published the list of risk countries in the wake of the emergence of new Covid variant. Of these countries, CIAL has direct connectivity with UK and Singapore. However, passengers arriving from other countries directly or through other airports in the country have to undergo RT-PCR tests.

After RT-PCR tests, they will be asked to go into home quarantine for seven days. Subsequently, RT-PCR test will be conducted again, and if they are found positive, they will have to go for quarantine in separate health centres. Their samples will be sent to genome sequencing laboratories under the Indian SARS Cov-2 Genomics Consortium for further analysis for the new variant.

The state government has deployed an 8-member special medical team of health workers to monitor the activities. “We are complying with the central guidelines as concerns grow over the new variant of Covid”, an official said.

An official at the Port Health Organization said they are strictly following the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for the crew arriving in ships in seaports. “There is no need for a panic as far as seaports in Kerala are concerned. We will get everything like schedule of the ship, its port of calls in advance. If the crew is signing off in Kochi, he has to undergo all the laid down protocols”.

Published on November 30, 2021

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