Planning Lockdown, Urging Flight Ban And Scaling up Testing: How Are Indian States Preparing to Combat Omicron
Omicron Variant: In Maharashtra, all travelers from foreign countries shall be governed by directions of the Union government while domestic travelers arriving in the state shall either be fully vaccinated or carry a negative RT-PCR test report valid for 72 hours
New Delhi: In the wake of emergence of a fresh 'Omicron' strain of the coronavirus in South Africa, several Indian states are mulling to impose precautionary measures including curbs on travel from affected African countries. The new COVID variant which was later also detected in Botswana and Hong Kong has led to fears of fresh outbreaks across the world. Earlier on Saturday, PM Narendra Modi chaired a meet on the situation and directed officials to review the lifting of international travel restrictions. For the unversed, India had announced the resumption of international flights from December 15, after a hiatus of 21 months.
On Thursday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had written to the Additional Chief Secretary(Health) of all States and UTs in the country warning them of new Covid-19 variant cases. "This variant is reported to have a significantly high number of mutations, and thus, has serious public health implications for the country, in view of recently relaxed visa restrictions and opening up of international travel. It is therefore imperative that all international travelers travelling from and transiting through these countries, (they are part of the "at risk" country category of international travellers coming to India) and also including all other at risk' countries indicated in the revised Guidelines for International Arrivals issued by this Ministry dated November 11, 2021, are subjected to rigorous screening and testing, as per MoHFW Guidelines," the letter read.
Here's How the Indian States/UTs Are Preparing to Curb The Spread of 'Omicron'
Maharashtra: Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar said that passengers from South Africa will be quarantined and their samples will be sent for genome sequencing. "All travelers from foreign countries shall be governed by directions of the Union government while domestic travelers arriving in the state shall either be fully vaccinated or carry a negative RT-PCR test report valid for 72 hours", said an official notification.
As to rules for international travelers, state chief secretary Sitaram Kunte said that the government was working on it in collaboration with the Mumbai civic body and Union health ministry. Moreover, the Maharashtra government has also announced penalties for not following COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB).
Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop flights from those countries which are affected by the new Covid variant. "I urge PM to stop flights from those countries which are affected by new variant. With great difficulty, our country has recovered from Corona. We should do everything possible to prevent this new variant from entering India," Kejriwal said in a tweet.
Karnataka: As a precautionary measure, the BS Bommai-led Karnataka government has directed officials to intensify screening of international passengers at the airports. Besides, it has made RT-PCR tests mandatory for visitors from Maharashtra and Kerala.
Health officials are on their toes in Karnataka as two South African citizens who arrived in Bengaluru have tested positive for COVID-19. "Of the international passengers screened at Kempegowda International Airport, two from South Africa have tested positive for COVID-19", The New Indian Express quoted Bengaluru Rural Deputy Commissioner K Srinivas as saying.
Uttarakhand: Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami instructed the chief secretary, DGP, and health secretary to ensure compliance of Covid appropriate behaviour in public places. CM Dhami directed the health secretary to make all necessary arrangements in hospitals in view of the new variant of COVID-19. Dhami has appealed to the people of the state to follow Covid appropriate behaviour and get fully vaccinated.
Published Date:November 28, 2021 1:38 PM IST
Updated Date:November 28, 2021 1:38 PM IST