Omicron variant: India issues new guidelines for international passengers
Health workers keep vigil as passengers exit the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. (Photo/Reuters)
INDIA will make on-arrival Covid-19 testing mandatory for flyers from more than a dozen countries, including South Africa and Britain where the Omicron variant has been detected, the health ministry said.
The decision will be effective from Wednesday (1) and comes after a man who recently returned from South Africa tested positive for Covid-19, though it is not yet clear which strain of the coronavirus he contracted.
Further investigations are ongoing, an official said.
“The patient is currently under observation and is displaying mild symptoms,” said Pradeep Awate, a senior health official in Maharashtra state where the man is isolating.
“Still, we are monitoring him out of abundant caution.”
The federal health ministry said all arrivals from Europe, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel will be tested at the airport using the RT-PCR method.
Additionally, five per cent of all travellers from other countries will be randomly tested, the ministry added.
Prime minister Narendra Modi has already asked officials to review a decision to resume all scheduled international flights from Dec. 15. Currently only special flights as per bilateral or other agreements are flying.
India reported 6,990 new coronavirus cases and 190 related fatalities on Tuesday (30), pushing the overall case tally to 34,587,822 and the death count to 468,980, according to the health ministry data.