THD NewsDesk, New Delhi:
In an SOP (standard operating procedure) issued on Saturday, the health ministry has stated that all passengers arriving from the UK between 8th and 30th January would be subjected to self-paid Covid-19 tests upon arrival. Additionally, every passenger has to bring their Covid-19 negative report from a test done not more than 72 hours before the journey.
India had cancelled all flights to and from the UK between 23 and 31 December in order to contain the spread of a mutated variant of the virus found in the UK. Afterwards, the suspension was extended till January 7.
After services resume from January 8, a mere 30 flights will operate between India and the UK every week. This arrangement will continue up to January 23. Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Friday, “Airlines have been directed to ensure the availability of negative test report before allowing the passenger to board the flight.”
The SOP also stated that adequate arrangements are to be made for the passengers waiting for their RT-PCR test or its results at the airport.
Upon being found positive, the passenger(s) will be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in an isolation unit coordinated by the respective state health authorities. If further tests indicate the presence of the new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the patient will continue to remain in a separate isolation unit. A second test will commence on the 14th day after having tested positive, and the patient will be kept in isolation until his or her sample has tested negative.
If a passenger tests Covid-positive on arrival, passengers seated in the same row, three rows in front and three rows behind would also be subjected to institutional quarantine in separate quarantine centres, the SOP said.
Upon being found negative at the airport, passengers would be advised home quarantine for 14 days. The concerned state or district administration should regularly follow up with them.
“The state governments concerned are requested to set up help desks at airports concerned to facilitate implementation of the SOP,” the SOP added.