New Delhi: The government on Thursday (December 22) said that two per cent of passengers arriving in each international flight will be subject to random coronavirus test from December 24. The Union health ministry has written to the civil aviation ministry in this regard amid an increase in coronavirus cases in many countries. Following random testing, if anybody is found Covid-positive, the sample should be sent for genomic testing at the designated INSACOG laboratory network, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote in a letter to his civil aviation ministry counterpart Rajiv Bansal.
After submitting samples for random testing, travellers will be allowed to leave the airport.
A copy of the positive report shall be shared with Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme at email@example.com by the concerned testing laboratory (besides sharing with the APHOS) to be in turn shared with concerned state or Union Territory for further follow-up action, Bhushan said.
Mr Bhushan in the letter stated that as a result of its sustained efforts and focus on the five-fold strategy of test-track-treat-vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour, India has been able to effectively restrict the spread of COVID-19 transmission in the country so far.
However, globally the number of new cases of COVID-19 continue to remain alarmingly high, with around 5.9 lakh daily new cases reported on average during the week ending on December 19, 2022.
This spike in the trajectory of COVID-19 is particularly concerning with respect to Japan, United States of America, South Korea, Brazil, France and China where cases are increasing in a sustained manner, he stated.
“…it has been decided that ministry of civil aviation in coordination with airport operators and Air Port Health Offices (APHOS) shall ensure” two per cent of the total passengers in the flight shall undergo random post-arrival testing at the airport, Mr Bhushan said in the letter.
Such travellers in each flight shall be identified by the concerned airlines (preferably from different countries), the letter said, adding that after submitting the sample passengers shall be allowed to leave the airport.
“This arrangement shall come into practice with effect from 10:00 AM on Saturday, December 24, 2022,” the letter said.
Mr Bhushan requested the ministry of civil aviation that testing may be done at a subsidised and uniform rate across all international airports.
These post-arrival protocol were also issued by the health ministry separately in its Guidelines for International Arrivals (in supersession of guidelines issued on the subject on November 21 2022).
According to the guidelines, all travellers should preferably be fully vaccinated as per the approved primary schedule of vaccination against COVID-19 in their country.
In-flight announcement about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic including precautionary measures to be followed (preferable use of masks and following physical distancing) shall be made in flights/travel and at all points of entry.
Any passenger having symptoms of COVID-19 during travel shall be isolated as per standard protocol i.e. the said passenger should be wearing mask, isolated and segregated from other passengers in flight/travel and shifted to an isolation facility subsequently for follow up treatment.
Thermal screening should be done in respect of all the passengers by the health officials present at the point of entry, the guidelines said.
The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening will be immediately isolated, taken to a designated medical facility as per health protocol (as above).
All travellers should self-monitor their health post arrival and also shall report to their nearest health facility or call national helpline number (1075)/ state helpline number in case they have any symptoms suggestive.
Children under 12 years of age are exempted from post-arrival random testing. However, if found symptomatic for COVID-19 on arrival or during the period of self-monitoring period, they shall undergo treatment as per laid guidelines.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.