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Omicron: Covid testing must for arrivals in India from 'at-risk' countries

Updated guidelines require all travelers, irrespective of Covid vaccination status arriving to India from countries identified as 'countries at-risk' to mandatorily undergo Covid testing at airport

Coronavirus | Coronavirus Tests | Coronavirus Vaccine

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Bengaluru airport
(File photo: ANI)

Union Health Ministry has revised guidelines for international arrivals in India in view of the Omicron variant of

The updated guidelines require all travelers, irrespective of Covid-19 vaccination status arriving to India from countries identified as ‘countries at-risk’ to mandatorily undergo Covid testing at airport on arrival in addition to pre-departure Covid-19 testing undertaken 72 hours before the departure.

For passengers that are Covid-19 positive, will be isolated and their samples also taken for whole genome sequencing. The passengers found negative can depart the airport but have to undergo home isolation for 7 days, followed by repeat testing on the eighth day of arrival in the country

In view of the increasing numbers countries reporting the Omicron variant, the present guidelines also mandate that 5% of the travelers coming from countries which are not in the ‘at risk category’ will also be tested on random basis at the airports for Covid-19.

The samples of all individuals testing positive for Covid-19, either at airports under home isolation or during random sampling, will also be sent for whole henomic sequencing at identified INSACOG network laboratories.

States have also been advised for rigorous surveillance of international passengers, enhanced testing, monitoring the hotspots of Covid -19, ensuring augmentation of health infrastructure, including undertaking samples for whole genome sequencing.

"The B.1.1.529 variant (Omicron) was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 November 2021 and the WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) on 26th November 2021 has classified it as Variant of Concern (VoC) in view of large number mutations noted in the variant, some of which may make this mutation more transmissible and have immune escape behaviour. The emerging evidence on the issue is being monitored by Union Ministry of Health," the ministry said in a statement on Monday.

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First Published: Mon, November 29 2021. 14:24 IST