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Omicron scare: Govt to review decision on restarting international flights

SOPs on testing and surveillance of incoming passengers will also be reviewed

A COVID-19 testing facility at Delhi Airport | PTI A COVID-19 testing facility at Delhi Airport | PTI

The government on Sunday decided to review its decision on resumption of scheduled commercial international passengers services in the wake of the emergence of new COVID-19 variant 'Omicron'. 

The government has also decided to review the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on testing and surveillance of  incoming international passengers, especially from the countries identified ‘at risk’ category.

Airport Health Officials (APHOs) and Port Health Officials (PHOs) will be sensitised for strict supervision of testing protocol, said a spokesperson of the Ministry of Home Affairs. He said a close watch on the emerging pandemic situation within the country will be maintained.

The decisions were taken at an urgent high-level meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla. Dr. V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, Dr. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to Prime Minister, and senior officers from Health, Civil Aviation and other ministries attended the meeting.

After a long hiatus of more than 20 months, the government had on November 26 announced the resumption of scheduled international commercial flights from December 15.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Saturday stressed the need to be proactive and directed officials to review plans for easing of international travel restrictions in light of the "emerging new evidence".

A World Health Organisation panel has named the new COVID strain 'omicron' and classified it as a highly transmissible variant of concern, the same category that includes the delta variant.

With PTI inputs

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