The union health ministry in India on Tuesday issued standards of procedures (SOPs) for passengers arriving from the United Kingdom amid the detection of a new variant of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in Britain.
RT-PCR testing on arrival, separate isolation of those testing positive for the new variant of coronavirus, institutional quarantine for co-passengers of those testing positive are some of requirements of the SOP.
According to the ministry of health and family, the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) has said that the new virus strain is more transmissible and affects the younger population.
"This variant is defined by a set of 17 changes or mutations. One of the most significant...changes...may result in the virus becoming more infectious and spreading more easily between people," the ministry said is a statement.
All airlines have been told to inform passengers about the SOP prior to check-in. Passengers who have either travelled or transited through the UK in the last four weeks have to follow the SOPs.
Here’s what passengers arriving from UK to India need to know:
1. Declare the travel history of the past 14 days.
2. Go through a RT-PCR test on arrival.
3. Spike gene-based RT-PCR test will performed on passengers found to be positive.
4. If the new virus strain is detected, the passenger will have to stay in an isolation unit.
5. On the 14th day, another test will be performed and in case it is still found positive, they will have to undergo further tests until two tests taken 24 hours apart show negative results.
Meanwhile, Air India has announced that due to the suspension of flights to UK,from Dec. 22-31 as well as from Oman and Saudi Arabia from Dec. 22--29,it is offering passengers booked to travel during the period one-time free reschedule for travel completed within Dec. 31.
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