As India will allow flights from the United Kingdom from January 8, checking of the passengers arriving at various airports will be tightened as the new strain of mutant virus has triggered concern in India though it has not affected the daily caseload of the Covid-19 significantly. The health ministry has issued a detailed guideline meant for the passengers, airlines and the state governments.
Guidelines for passengers:
1. All passengers travelling from the UK will have to submit self-declaration form on the online portal of Delhi Airport(www.newdelhiairport.in) at least 72 hours before the scheduled travel.
2. Passengers will have to carry their negative report of RT-PCR test, which should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey.
3. The copy of the report will have to be uploaded on the portal as well.
4. Passengers will have to undergo RT-PCR tests again upon arrival at their own cost.
5. If tested positive upon arrival, passengers will have to be quarantined accordingly.
6. Co-passengers and other contacts will also have to be quarantined, if one tests positive.
Guidelines for airlines
1. Airlines will check every passenger and ensure that no one without the negative report gets to board the flight.
2. The airlines should explain this rule to passengers prior check-in. The information should be displayed prominently in the waiting areas of the airports.
Guidelines for airports in India
1. Mandatory RT-PCR test for passengers arriving from the UK.
2. Adequate arrangements for passengers waiting for their RT-PCR test as well as test results.
3. Facility for isolation, if needed.
Guidelines for states
1. States will set up help desks at airports where passengers from the UK are arriving.
2. Those who test positive will have to be isolated at any institutional isolation facility which the state government will arrange for.
3. The state governments will earmark specific facilities for such isolation and treatment and take necessary action to send the positive samples to Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) Labs. If the passengers test positive for the new strain, they will remain at the isolation facility. If they test positive for the current SARS-COV-2 virus genome, then they may be allowed home isolation, depending on their health condition. They will be tested after 14 days again.
4. Those who are found negative on testing with RT-PCR at the airport would be advised quarantine at home for 14 days and regularly followed up by local authorities.
5. All contacts of passengers who test positive will be subjected to institutional quarantine.