Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday said revised guidelines for domestic air travel will be issued by the state government in the next couple of days, amid concerns over the ‘Omicron’ variant of coronavirus.
Tope’s comments came a day after the Centre asked the state to align its order with the SOPs issued by the Union Health Ministry.
Maharashtra has mandated seven-day institutional quarantine for travellers arriving in the state from ‘at-risk’ countries under the guidelines issued by the State Disaster Management Authority on Tuesday night.
Such passengers will also undergo RT-PCR test on the second, fourth and seventh day of arrival. If found to be COVID-19 positive, the passenger will be shifted to a hospital. In case the test is negative, the passenger will still have to undergo seven-day home quarantine.
The Mumbai civic body on Wednesday mandated all domestic passengers landing at the city airport to carry a negative RT-PCR report not older than 72 hours.
In Maharashtra, six passengers from the high-risk countries have tested positive for coronavirus so far, a health bulletin earlier said.
Talking to PTI on Thursday, Tope said, The strict guidelines are deferred as the state administration is preparing a new set of guidelines for domestic and international air travel. The fresh set of guidelines will be out in the next couple of days.
Amendments will be made in the guidelines for domestic air travellers only. The international air travellers will have to follow the strict guidelines, as defined by the Union health ministry. There will not be much change, the minister said.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday said the Maharashtra government’s directives “shall become operational from 23:59 hours of December 2, 2021”.
The civic body said it has decided to give two days for the passengers coming from “risk” countries as many of them have already finalised their travel plans and are on the move. Many passengers might be airborne and they might not be aware of these recent guidelines.
“To avoid major inconveniences and also to recast their travel plans, a window of two days is proposed to be given to all passengers from the risk countries,” the BMC stated.
The Omicron variant of coronavirus has been found in about dozen countries, including some from the African continent.
The Centre’s revised guidelines for international travellers came into effect on Wednesday. The fresh guidelines have been issued because of the new SARS-Cov-2 variant which has been designated as a ‘variant of concern (VOC)’ by the World Health Organisation.
Passengers originating or transiting from ‘at-risk’ countries will have to undergo an RT-PCR test after arrival and will be required to wait for the results at the airport before leaving or taking a connecting flight, according to the revised guidelines which came into effect from December 1.
If tested negative, they will have to be in home quarantine for seven days and will undergo a re-test on the eighth day of arrival in India. If again negative, self-monitor of health would continue for seven more days, it said.
However, if such travellers test positive for COVID-19, their samples should be sent for genomic testing at the INSACOG laboratory network.
They shall be managed at a separate isolation facility and treated according to the standard protocol, including contact tracing. Contacts of such positive cases should be kept in institutional quarantine or at home quarantine monitored strictly by the state government concerned, the guidelines said.
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