- Random Covid-19 testing may be conducted on international passengers: sources
- This comes after an increase in Covid-19 cases in China raised the worldwide alert.
- A discussion with top officials about the Covid problem was also carried out by the union health minister.
For overseas travellers, the government is reintroducing Covid-19 testing-related measures at airports. According to sources at the health ministry, random samples of people travelling from other countries will be tested for coronavirus on Wednesday. A high increase of Covid-19 cases in China prompted the new measures.
According to sources, “There are currently 10 different variants of coronavirus in the country, the latest variant is BF.7. At present, only different variants of Omicron are spreading in the country. Even today, the delta variant is being seen somewhere in the country.”
A meeting on the country’s Covid situation was conducted earlier today by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.
“COVID is not over yet. I have directed all concerned to be alert and strengthen surveillance. We are prepared to manage any situation,” he tweeted.
Dr. VK Paul, a member of Niti Aayog, has suggested using face masks in crowded places to prevent the virus’s spread amid worries that the wave of cases in China would result in new mutations.
“Use a mask if you are in a crowded space, indoors or outdoors. This is all the more important for people with comorbidities or are of higher age,” Dr VK Paul said.
According to PTI reports, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan advised in the letter that if anyone found Covid-19 positive samples should be sent to the designated INSACOG laboratory network for genome testing.
After providing samples for random testing, travelers will be permitted to leave the airport, he added.
The concerned testing laboratory must provide a copy of the positive report to the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme at email@example.com in addition to the APHOS, who will then send it to the relevant state or Union Territory for further follow-up action.
India has so far been successful in effectively limiting the spread of Covid-19 transmission in the nation as a consequence of its consistent efforts, focus on the five-fold strategy of test-track-treat-vaccination, and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour, the letter stated.
With an average of 5.9 lakh new cases per day recorded during the week ending December 19, 2022, the number of Covid cases worldwide has remained high.
Regarding Japan, the United States of America, South Korea, Brazil, France, and China, where cases are rising steadily, this jump in the trajectory of Covid-19 is very alarming.
“…it has been decided that the ministry of civil aviation in coordination with airport operators and AirPort Health Offices (APHOS) shall ensure” two percent of the total passengers in the flight shall undergo random post-arrival testing at the airport, the letter added, as quoted by PTI.
Bhushan added that the relevant airlines will identify such passengers on each flight. The letter stated that “this arrangement shall come into effect at 10:00 am on Saturday, December 24, 2022.”
These post-arrival guidelines are available separately in the Health Ministry’s Guidelines for International Arrivals (in supersession of guidelines issued on the subject on November 21, 2022).
Post-arrival random testing is not required for children under the age of 12. However, if Covid-19 symptoms are found upon arrival or during the period of self-monitoring, they must get treatment in accordance with established protocols.