Covid-19 variant: UAE-Kerala passengers need not undergo 7-day mandatory quarantine

The southern state in India has adopted several preventive measures to combat Omicron spread



Photo: File
Photo: File
by

Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Sun 28 Nov 2021, 4:57 PM

Last updated: Sun 28 Nov 2021, 5:22 PM

Travellers from the UAE to the southern Indian state of Kerala are not required to undergo mandatory quarantine for seven days.

In response to the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) of Covid-19, State Health Minister Veena George announced to Media persons on Saturday that Kerala has adopted several preventive measures to combat its spread.

Khaleej Times can reveal that Kerala will impose mandatory quarantine and other stringent travel protocols only on travellers arriving from the ‘at-risk list of countries specified by the Indian Central government.

The nations currently on India’s at-risk list are – European countries, including the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.

According to a press release issued by the state’s Information and Public Relations Department, George said, “The State has taken steps as per the guidelines issued by the Centre. Kerala will strengthen surveillance at all airports. Currently, there is no cause for concern, but everyone should strictly follow the Covid-19 guidelines.”

The statement added, “Everyone should be careful and use masks and maintain social distance. Those who have not been vaccinated should get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

The Minister also said the health department had held various review meetings to strengthen preventive measures.

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According to the most recent Government of India guidelines, issued on Friday, all passengers travelling to India must undergo an RT-PCR test 72 hours before departure and upload it on the Air Suvidha portal.

“However, we will closely monitor those arriving from foreign countries mentioned in the Centre’s guidelines. Travellers from these countries will have to undergo RT PCR at the airport of entry in India. Further check-in facilities are being set up at all airports. They must stay in the quarantine for seven days,” said George.

Authorities shall send samples of suspected patients from ‘at-risk countries for testing further testing. Heads of Indian airlines in the UAE told Khaleej Times they have not received any intimation from the government of India regarding updated quarantine regulations.

However, some travel agents have said UAE expatriates are reconsidering their travel plans abroad during the upcoming National Day and winter holidays due to the Omicron virus. From mid-November to early January, ticket prices from UAE to the South Indian state have been sky high, especially on dates close to Christmas and the New Year.

In the UAE, the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA) announced the suspension of entry for travellers and transit passengers from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique late Friday night. These rules are effective November 29.

The GCAA confirmed UAE nationals, diplomatic missions, official delegations between UAE and the seven countries and golden residence holders are excluded from this decision.

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com


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