Friday, December 03, 2021

Omicron: Mandaviya meets airport, port health officials over screening at points of entries

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday held a meeting with airport and port health officers as well as other authorities over screening and surveillance at all points of entries amid concerns over the new coronavirus variant 'Omicron', official sources said.

The health ministry has been advising states and Union territories to keep a strict vigil and undertake surveillance of international passengers coming to the country through various airports.

Testing of samples of international travellers coming from 'at risk' countries on the first day and of specified category of passengers on the eighth day needs to be scrupulously done, it had stressed.

International passengers from at-risk countries are being advised to wait at airports till the report of the RT-PCR test is available.

States/UTs have been asked to send all positive samples for genome sequencing to INSACOG labs (mapped with states) promptly and that the states should undertake contact tracing of positive individuals and follow up for 14 days.

The new potentially more contagious B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from South Africa on November 24, and has been designated as a "Variant of Concern" by the global body, which named it 'Omicron'.

A 'variant of concern' is the WHO's top category of worrying COVID-19 variants.

The health ministry had on Tuesday revised the guidelines for international arrivals which mandate that 2 per cent of the total flight passengers coming from countries which are not in the 'at risk category' will also be tested on random basis at the airports for COVID-19.

Apart from that, travellers from countries, excluding those countries at risk, will be allowed to leave the airport and shall self-monitor their health for 14 days post arrival.

02/12/21 PTI/New Indian Express

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