Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Jharkhand decides against institutional quarantine for air passengers from red zones

Ranchi: The Jharkhand government on Monday sent 450-odd passengers, who flew down to Ranchi from three cities to 14 days of home quarantine, a decision that seems to be in conflict with a Union home ministry directive mandating a week of institutional quarantine for all travellers coming from high Covid-19 prevalence states.

State health secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni clarified that Jharkhand was following latest civil aviation ministry guidelines.

"We are now following the fresh guidelines issued by the civil aviation ministry. The ministry has allowed destination states to decide the health protocol for travellers," he said.

Passengers from Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad arrived at Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Airport through the day on Monday when passenger flight services resumed in India after a lull of two months, airport officials said.

None of them were sent to institutional quarantine, the officials said.

According to airport officials, a majority of the passengers who landed in Ranchi airport on Monday came from New Delhi – a city that is among the worst-affected COVID-19 regions of the country.

"Two flights from New Delhi landed in Ranchi today (Monday). Besides, one flight each from Bangalore and Hyderabad landed here," said airport director Vinod Sharma. "All passengers were screened at the airport," he added.

Ranchi sub-divisional officer (SDO) Lokesh Mishra said the passengers were asked to stay quarantined at home for 14 days. "We screened all the passengers, and put them in home quarantine," Mishra said.

Ranchi dropped it's Covid-19 red zone tag last week. It is now an orange zone with only 13 active cases. However, health department sources admitted that the present transmission rate can increase if passengers defy home quarantine.

Institutional quarantine, on the other hand, may reduce the chances of further transmission by imposing stricter restrictions, they added.
25/05/20 Telegraph
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