Just day after the union Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya held a meeting with state ministers to discuss the current Covid situation, Govt announced that RT-PCR tests will be mandatory for international passengers coming from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand as Covid cases continue to surge worldwide.
#WATCH | Air Suvidha portal to be implemented for passengers arriving from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong & Thailand, RT-PCR to be made mandatory for them. After arriving in India, if they test positive, they'll be quarantined: Union Health Min Dr Mandaviya pic.twitter.com/ST7ypqmy1V— ANI (@ANI) December 24, 2022
“RT-PCR test to be mandatory for international arrivals from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand. On arrival, if any passenger from these countries is found symptomatic or tests positive for Covid19, then he/she will be put under quarantine,” Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya was quoted as saying by ANI.
He added, “Air Suvidha portal will be implemented for passengers arriving from these countries and RT-PCR tests will be mandatory for them. After arriving in India, if they test positive, they’ll be quarantined.”
Air Suvidha is a self-declaration form which was introduced as Covid prevention measure and was meant to understand contact tracing during the pandemic. It is currently required from all travellers who wish to enter India.
The random Covid testing of international arriving passengers started at airports on Saturday as the authorities step up measures to prevent the possible spread of the infection in the country. Two per cent of passengers arriving by each international flight will be subject to random coronavirus testing at airports from Saturday.
In a meeting that was held on Friday, the health minister asked the states to strengthen the surveillance system for whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track the variants to ensure timely detection of newer variants, if any, circulating in the country. He also advised ramping up vaccination of all eligible populations, especially of the elderly and vulnerable population groups. He also cautioned against spreading misinformation by ensuring dissemination of factually correct information in a timely manner.
Dr Manohar Agnani, additional health secretary, has requested the concerned departments to ensure that PSA plants are fully functional. In a letter to states and UTs, he said, “The availability of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) in the health facilities and uninterrupted supply chain for their refilling should be ensured. Adequate Inventory of Oxygen Cylinders along with backup stocks and robust refilling system is maintained.”
As spike in Covid cases has wreaked havoc in China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday cautioned against complacency and called for a strict vigil. The government has advised people to follow Covid protocols.