Thursday, May 26, 2022

Omicron: What Are Maharashtra's New Travel Guidelines That Centre Deemed 'Divergent'?

Omicron Covid-19 variant: The Centre has termed new international travel guidelines by Maharashtra government ‘divergent’ and has asked the state to align with its already issued SOPs by Union Health Ministry.

Omicron: What Are Maharashtra's New Travel Guidelines That Centre Deemed 'Divergent'?
New travel guidelines have been issued by Maharashtra govt amid Omicron Covid-19 variant scare.(File photo-Representational image) PTI

Terming new guidelines of Maharashtra government on quarantine for international passengers spurred by Omicron Covid-19 variant scare as “divergent”, the Centre has asked the former to align to its order with the SOPs issued by Union Health Ministry. Amid Omicron scare, the Centre and Maharashtra seem to be not on same page with each other.

Here are Maharashtra government new guidelines for international passengers spurred by Omicron Covid-19 variant:

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.

The international passengers will have also to 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.

What is Centre saying:

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written a letter to Maharashtra’s Pradeep Kumar Vyas, who is Additional Chief Secretary of the state's Department of Health & Family Welfare of the state.

Bhushan has said that the order issued by the Maharashtra government is in divergence with the Covid-19 SoPs and guidelines issued by Union Health Ministry for international passengers.

"I would, therefore, urge you to align the orders issued by the state with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health, Government of India, so that uniform implementation of the guidelines may be ensured across all states and UTs,” the letter states.

It mentions: "I would also advise that such modified orders of the state government are given wide publicity to obviate any inconvenience to travellers," he said in the letter addressed

What are Union Health Ministry guidelines:

Under the new guidelines issued by the Union Health Ministry on November 28, passengers originating or transiting from at-risk countries will have to undergo RT-PCR testing post-arrival and will be required to wait for the results at the airport before leaving or taking a connecting flight

Travellers from countries excluding those countries at risk will be allowed to leave the airport and shall self-monitor their health for 14 days post-arrival but five percent of the total flight passengers shall undergo post-arrival testing at random at the airport on arrival. (With PTI inputs)