Home Ministry issues strict instructions on 'Omicron' alert in India

New Delhi: Many countries in the world have announced travel restrictions on detecting the new variant of corona virus ,omicron. The central government on Sunday said it will review the resumption of scheduled international commercial flights. On Saturday, the government has put many countries in the 'risk' category. These include Countries in Europe including South Africa, China, Botswana, UK, Brazil, Israel, Bangladesh, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The Centre has also directed the State and Union Territory Governments to enhance corona testing, enhance healthcare infrastructure and increase genome sequencing.

The Home Ministry has said that the Centre will take a decision on the effective date of commissioning of commercial international flights only after conducting a detailed review on the omicron variant of corona virus. The government had on Friday decided to resume commercial flights from December 15. The Home Ministry said that the government has decided to review the standard operating process on testing and monitoring of incoming international travellers. Especially for countries that have been placed in a 'risk' category. MHA further said that Airport Health Officers (APHO) and Port Health Officers (PHO) will be sensitized to strictly follow testing protocols at airports/ports.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to all states and Union Territories to focus on intensive control, active monitoring, improved testing, monitoring of hotspots, increasein coverage of vaccination and increase in health infrastructure. In the letter, Bhushan has said that with screening of travellers from "at risk" category countries and a 14-day warranty, states should continue to monitor "hotspots" or areas where more recently infected cases have been found.The Union Health Ministry has also issued a set of guidelines making RT-PCR testing mandatory for passengers travelling from "risky" countries when they come to India. The ministry said they will also need to wait for the results before leaving the airport or taking a connecting flight.

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