With reports of new mutations and rising variants of interest of coronavirus, the health ministry has added seven more countries to the list of nations where travellers have to take an RT-PCR test upon arrival in India. These countries include South Africa, Bangladesh, Botswana, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and China.
Earlier as part of the guidelines for international travel, UK, Europe and West Asia were on the list, where passengers had to board with a negative RT-PCR report and get tested upon arrival.
The health ministry has asked states to implement the new guidelines and strengthen the whole genome sequencing activities. Talking about the latest variant Mu that has been classified by the World Health Organisation as a variant of interest, Balram Bhargava, director general, Indian Council of Medical Research, said, “We are closely observing it. So far it is not known to cause serious disease of rapid spread.”
Mu was first detected in South America’s Columbia region in January. “Mutants' risk will be there in future. Whatever the mutants, the tools of testing, tracking, treatment and vaccination are in hands and we have to use them against all mutants,” V K Paul, member-health Niti Aayog, said.