India on Friday set out new Covid-19 rules, making a seven-day quarantine mandatory for all international passengers. The rules effective January 11 come in the wake of an exponential rise in Omicron cases across the country.
And after undergoing home isolation for a week, the Indian Health Ministry said, all such passengers flying in from abroad will have to take an RT-PCR test. If anyone tests positive, they will be sent to an isolation facility for treatment.
Those who test negative will have to self-monitor their health for another week, according to the latest rules.
The Ministry also added more countries to the list of “at-risk” nations — South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Ghana, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Hong Kong, Israel, Congo, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Zambia.
Those arriving from these 19 “at-risk” nations will be required to submit samples for Covid testing at the airport itself. They will not be allowed to leave the airport till their results come.
On the other hand, people arriving in India from countries other than “at risk” nations also face the prospect of an RT-PCR examination as airport authorities will pick two percent of such passengers randomly for Covid test, as per the latest Health Ministry rules.
Meanwhile, on Friday, the country reported a whopping 1,17,100 new coronavirus cases and as many as 302 fresh deaths in 24 hours. The new infections pushed up the country’s total coronavirus tally to 3,52,26,386.
Of the new infections, over 3,000 were of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, as per the latest figures released by the Health Ministry.
Just two days ago, India reported its first Omicron death in the northwestern state of Rajasthan’s Udaipur city. The Omicron victim — identified as 73-year-old Laxminarayan Nagar — tested positive for Covid on December 15.
The man who had multiple comorbidities but was doubly vaccinated, succumbed to the Omicron strain of the coronavirus in the early hours of December 31, according to officials.
Omicron has been classified as “a variant of concern” by the World Health Organisation.
Alarmed by the rising Omicron cases, India’s federal government two weeks ago warned states that “the variant is three times more transmissible than the Delta” and directed them to take action to rein in its spread.
Earlier last month, India’s civil aviation regulator backtracked on its decision to resume regular international flights from December 15.
The government put curbs on all flights in March 2020 following the Covid-induced lockdown. However, it allowed domestic flights from May 2020, and the entry of foreigners except tourists from October.
Source: United News of Bangladesh