With the prospect of the ‘highly transmissible’ Omicron strain of SARS-CoV-2 hanging large, the Government of India’s new international travel limits is slated to go into effect on Wednesday.
Omicron was first identified in Botswana and later designated as a ‘variant of concern’ by the World Health Organization (WHO). To date, documented cases of Omicron have been found in at least 14 countries.
With numerous countries placing travel bans on South Africa in an effort to halt the spread of the new variety, the Government of India released an updated set of instructions for overseas travellers on Sunday.
According to the instructions, all international travellers arriving in India would be expected to complete a self-declaration form (SDF) and give a copy of their negative RT-PCR test results to the airlines before boarding the flight.
Those with a travel history in countries other than those classified as ‘at risk’ will be submitted to random Covid-19 testing upon arrival.
If the test results show that the tourist is infected, the sample will be sent for genome sequencing and the traveller will be treated according to standard protocol. Those who test negative upon arrival should be quarantined at home for at least 14 days, according to the ministry.
The rules also call for strict screening of visitors arriving in India from any of 11 ‘at risk’ nations. The United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Israel are among them.
The Centre updated its list of ‘at-risk’ countries on Tuesday. Bangladesh, which was previously on the list, has been removed.
According to the Maharashtra government, all overseas visitors travelling from “at-risk” countries would be subjected to an obligatory seven-day institutional quarantine as well as RT-PCR tests for Covid-19 three times: on the second, fourth, and seventh days of their arrival.
According to the authority’s most recent instructions, such passengers would also be subjected to RT-PCR tests on their second, fourth, and seventh days of arrival. If a passenger test positive, he or she will be taken to a hospital.
Meanwhile, six overseas passengers from ‘risk countries’ tested positive for Covid-19 in Maharashtra, according to officials. Their samples were sent for genome sequencing to determine whether or not they are Omicron variants.
“Two instances have been discovered in Pimpri-Chinchwad, one in Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivali, Mira-Bhayandar, and one in Pune,” officials added.