Many state governments have issued new advisories to health officials and could reimpose travel restrictions even as the central government on Sunday called on provincial authorities to be more vigilant against the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
No case of Omicron, which was labeled a variant of concern by the World Health Organization last week, has been reported in India so far. The variant is spreading rapidly across the world, and several cases have been reported in Africa, Europe and parts of Asia.
The Uttar Pradesh health department on Sunday issued a notice to all chief medical officers in the state, asking them to focus on travelers to or in transit through countries where cases of the new variant have been reported, as well as their contacts.
Travelers from “at risk” countries should be rigorously screened and monitored in accordance with guidelines from the Union’s health ministry, the advisory said. All incoming passengers from “at risk” countries were to be tested. People who test positive will have to remain isolated at home for 10 days and inform those in charge of the Covid integrated command center of their state of health, according to the notice.
In Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan held a high-level meeting on Sunday and said the state will prepare a list of people who have come from foreign countries to Madhya Pradesh in the past month. “These people will be tested and the suspects will also be kept under observation. The sequencing of the h genome will also be carried out, ”he said.
Tamil Nadu’s health department has appointed nodal agents at each of the state’s four international airports (Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai and Trichy) to coordinate with airport staff to screen and test passengers at the airport. ‘arrival. RT-PCR testing is underway for all international arrivals at Chennai Airport. “We are monitoring those arriving from South Africa and transiting from there,” state health minister Mr Subramanian told reporters on Saturday after inspecting Chennai airport.
“Regarding Chennai Airport, we are intensively monitoring passengers from South Africa, China, Hong Kong and Israel, and ensuring they are 100% quarantined at them and (will) retest them after 8 days, “he said, adding that authorities would keep a record of passengers who arrived after a double vaccination. As of October 21, up to 55,090 RT-PCR tests have been performed among passengers at Chennai airport, including three that tested positive for Covid-19. Most of the samples were from the Delta variant which swept through India in a devastating wave earlier this year.
The Maharashtra government, in a notification on Saturday, said domestic air travelers will need to be fully vaccinated or carry a valid RT-PCR test report for 72 hours. Simultaneously, all international passengers arriving at the city’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport from “countries of concern” will have to undergo a mandatory RT-PCR test for Covid-19 and, if they are positive, will be sent to a center. quarantine while their samples would be sent to the city’s genome sequencing lab, according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
All passengers are expected to provide their travel history for the past 15 days upon arrival, officials said. The BMC is also setting up a call center for testing and institutional quarantine for international passengers.
Karnataka has asked the central government to ban flights from South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana, where the new strain has been discovered. It has made it mandatory that international travelers be allowed to leave the airport only after testing negative for Covid-19. If they are positive, they will be quarantined.
State authorities have stepped up vigilance at the Kerala and Maharashtra borders, and only those who have negative test certificates with two doses of the vaccine will be allowed through Karnataka, officials said.
The government of Karnataka also issued a notice asking schools and other educational institutions to suspend social and cultural events for two months. The government has said that people who work in shopping malls, cinemas and other public spaces should not be allowed to report to their respective jobs until they have received both Covid-19 vaccines.
In Kerala, the government has stepped up surveillance at the four international airports and urged foreign visitors to self-quarantine for seven days.
“The state has taken all precautions in accordance with the directives of the Union Ministry of Health. We will keep a close eye on people who are in quarantine after coming from overseas, ”said State Health Minister Veena George. Those coming from affected countries, including people with negative RT-PCR reports, will need to be retested upon arrival in the state, she said.
No advisories were issued in the states of Bihar, Punjab and West Bengal, although officials said they were monitoring the situation.
“So far there is no case of omicron in Punjab. We are on alert in case such a case is found in the state. Testing is being increased at airports, ”said Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, Punjab’s nodal officer on the pandemic. “Although there are no such cases in the state at the moment, we are vigilant and will put in place all the necessary arrangements to contain it,” Bihar Health Minister Mangal said on Saturday. Pandey, to reporters in Madhubani.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is in charge of the state’s health department, has called on all officials to be on alert. “The health secretary on Monday called an emergency meeting with the chief doctors of all public hospitals and a special cell is opened at the Beliaghata infectious disease hospital in Calcutta,” the official said, under cover. of anonymity.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said on Sunday that “hope for the best and prepare for the worst” and added that so far no such variant has surfaced in the Haryana.
Odisha’s government has announced that people arriving in the state from foreign countries will be required to undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine. “Foreign returnees will need to remain in quarantine for a period of 10 days to prevent further spread of Covid-19 infections in the state,” said Rama Raman Mohanty, director of medical education and training.
Passengers from South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana will be screened at Biju Patnaik International Airport to curb the possible transmission of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19. As Bhubaneswar is the entry point for international travelers into the state, there is a need to screen passengers from South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana, Mohanty said.
In line with revised government guidelines against the new mutant, returnees will be tested for COVID-19 at airports. Their swab samples will be sent for genome sequencing if anyone tests positive.
In a video conference with officials from Bhubaneswar district on Sunday, Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra advised all block officials, constituency members, anganwadi and health workers to collect field reports on Covid-19 infections in their regions and to take immediate action if cases are detected. detected.