Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Saturday said RT-PCR test for the detection of Covid-19 would be made mandatory for international passengers arriving from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand.
Any passenger from these countries found symptomatic or testing positive for coronavirus would be quarantined, Mandaviya said.
He also said filling up of the 'Air Suvidha' form to declare the health status will be made mandatory for passengers coming from these countries.
With China and other countries witnessing a surge in Covid cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday cautioned against complacency, called for a strict vigil and directed that the ongoing surveillance measures, especially at the international airports, be strengthened.
The Union health ministry has already asked the civil aviation ministry to ensure random post-arrival Covid testing at airports of 2 per cent of the passengers arriving in India in each international flight from Saturday to minimise the risk of ingress of any new variant of the coronavirus in the country.
New guidelines issued for the international traveller
The government on Thursday said that two per cent of passengers arriving on each international flight will be subject to random coronavirus tests from December 24.
Following random testing, if anybody is found Covid-positive, the sample should be sent for genomic testing at the designated INSACOG laboratory network, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote in a letter to his civil aviation ministry counterpart Rajiv Bansal.
After submitting samples for random testing, travellers will be allowed to leave the airport.
A copy of the positive report shall be shared with Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme at [email protected] by the concerned testing laboratory (besides sharing with the APHOS) to be in turn shared with concerned state or Union Territory for further follow-up action, Bhushan said.
All about the new guidelines and mandates
In the Covid review meeting chaired by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday, experts said although there is no overall increase in Covid caseload as of now, there is a need for continued surveillance to keep a track of existing and emerging variants.
The minister asked people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour, including wearing masks in crowded places and getting vaccinated.
Noting that only 27 to 28 per cent of India's eligible population have taken the Covid precaution dose, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul, after the meeting, said people should take the jab and also wear masks in crowded places.
Top doctors body Indian Medical Association (IMA) has also asked people to get their booster doses.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday chaired a high-level meeting to review the Covid-19 situation in India and directed officials to increase Covid-19 testing and advised states to carry out an audit of their healthcare infrastructure, including the availability of oxygen.
Modi cautioned against complacency and directed officials to strengthen the ongoing surveillance measures, especially at international airports.
Modi directed officials to ramp up testing and genome sequencing of Covid-19 samples.
States have been asked to share a larger number of samples with the designated INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (lGSLs) for genome sequencing on a daily basis, said the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
Modi in the meeting also advised the states to carry out audits of their healthcare infrastructure, including the availability of oxygen. He also advised regular monitoring of prices and availability of essential medicines.
(With PTI Inputs)