Omicron Restrictions: States Impose Travel Curbs As Cases Surge
With the rise in Omicron cases across India, a new wave of fear and restrictions are emerging worldwide. India, which saw a harrowing second wave Covid-19 pandemic, has also announced travel restrictions in its several states. State governments have announced covid guidelines for travellers from ‘at risk’ countries in an attempt to curb the super spread of the Omicron variant.
Here is a list of travel restrictions imposed by various states in India:
The Delhi government has made it compulsory for international travellers from Brazil, the UK, China, South Africa, Mauritius, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Botswana and Israel to undergo compulsory RT-PCR tests at the airport. No restrictions will be imposed on passengers from any other countries. Children below the age of five years do not need to take the test. However, for others, it is compulsory to wait at the airport unless the results arrive. If a person tests negative, they must home quarantine and take another test on the eighth day. If the result is positive, then the person must follow the treatment protocol at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital.
With a sharp rise in Omicron cases in Maharashtra, the state government has imposed a mandatory 7-day institutional quarantine for ‘high-risk’ passengers from South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. On the eighth day, the passengers will be again tested and if the results come negative, then a mandatory 7-day home quarantine needs to be followed. If a person tests positive, then they will be shifted to a hospital with covid-19 treatment facilities. All international passengers having connecting flights must also undergo an RT-PCR test. Domestic flyers must be fully vaccinated and conduct their RT-PCR test 48 hours prior to travelling. All airports across the state must have separate checking counters for passengers from ‘high-risk’ nations.
International flyers must be home quarantined for 7 days. If a passenger tests positive, the sample will be sent to genomic sequence and they will be admitted to an isolation centre. Eventually, they will be released at the discretion of the treating physician if the genomic sequencing is negative for B.1.1.529 (Omicron variant). However, passengers arriving from Europe including the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel, would need to follow additional measures on arrival at the Maharashtra airport.
4. West Bengal
It is mandatory for international passengers flying from Dhaka, London and Singapore must undergo RT-PCR and undergo home quarantine for seven days. Passengers who have tested positive must undergo institutional quarantine. Domestic travellers from other states must also carry reports of negative RT-PCR conducted 72 hours prior to the flight. The government has issued directions to set up a special ward at the government-run Beliaghata Hospital, especially for patients who test positive for Omicron.
5. Jammu and Kashmir
International passengers must undergo an RT-PCR test at the Srinagar International Airport. Passengers from designated ‘at-risk’ nations will have to undergo home quarantine for 7 days. On the eighth day, they must undergo another test and upon testing negative, they should self-monitor themselves for two more weeks. Travellers from ‘no-risk’ countries have been advised to self-monitor themselves for two weeks. The samples of positive cases will be sent to the designated INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (IGSLs) promptly.
6. Tamil Nadu
RT-PCR test is mandatory for international flyers arriving from ‘at-risk’ countries including, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, UK, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Singapore, Zimbabwe, Hong Kong and Israel, at any airport in the state. Random sampling will be conducted on two per cent of travellers arriving from countries other than ‘at-risk’. If tested positive, the sample will be sent for whole-genome sequencing and the patient will be admitted to an isolation centre. If tested negative, then a person must be home quarantined for 7 days and be tested again on the eighth day. For domestic flyers, the Arogya Setu app, thermal screening and E-Registration are mandatory. For flyers from Kerala, a double vaccination certificate or a negative RT-PCR test, not less than 72 hours, are a must.
International passengers flying from ‘at-risk’ countries (European countries including The United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Israel) have to undergo a mandatory RT-PCR. If they test negative, they must be home quarantined for 7 days followed by another test on the eighth day and another week of self-monitoring. Those who test positive will be shifted to isolation wards. Children below the age of 5 years are exempted from the test. However, if they are symptomatic, they will undergo laid protocols. Domestic flyers must register on the Covid-19 Jagratha portal and undergo thermal screening. All passengers must carry a negative RT-PCR report (not less than 72 hours before the flight) or a double-vaccination certificate. There will be no home quarantine for passengers testing negative. If the domestic traveller tests positive, they must undergo state-regularised isolation norms.
For international arrivals, it is mandatory to fill up the Self Declaration Form (SDF) and uploading of negative RT-PCR test reports for all international travellers as per notification from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, dated November 28.
Travellers coming from the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, Israel will have to undergo a mandatory RT-PCR test. If they test negative, a 7-day home quarantine should follow. On testing positive, passengers will be sent to the isolation ward. The state government made it compulsory for people entering the State to register with the government website and download the Arogya Setu app and the Behavioural Change Management app.