With the threat of the Omicron variant of coronavirus looming large across the globe, the Maharashtra State Disaster Management Authority said that travellers arriving in the state from 'at risk' countries will have to undergo a mandatory seven-day institutional quarantine. The list of 'at risk' countries is announced by the Union government. According to an updated list, the countries designated in that category are the European countries, the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel. NDTV reported that the passengers will be placed into compulsory isolation facilities, and will be required to pay for the quarantine at designated hotels.
While in institutional quarantine, RT-PCR tests will be conducted on the second, fourth and seventh days of the arrival. If positive, the patient will be shifted to a hospital. In negative, the passenger will still have to undergo another seven-day home quarantine.
Maharashtra is the first state to mandate institutional quarantine for passengers in this Omicron wave. The Union government had earlier released detailed guidelines for surveillance of air passengers from affected nations.
1. Airlines will allow boarding of only those passengers who have filled in the self-declaration form on the Air Suvidha portal and uploaded the negative RT-PCR test report. This test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey.
2. At the time of boarding the flight, only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board after thermal screening and all passengers shall be advised to download Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices.
3. Travellers from specified countries at risk will follow the protocol as detailed below: Submission of sample for post-arrival COVID-19 test at the point of arrival (self-paid). Such travellers will be required to wait for their test results at the arrival airport before leaving or taking a connecting flight. If tested negative they will follow home quarantine for 7 days. Re-test on the 8th day of arrival in India and if negative, further self-monitor of their health for next seven days. However, if such travellers test positive, their samples should be sent for genomic testing at the INSACOG laboratory network.