Center issues new guidelines as new Covid strain reported in India
New Delhi: The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Wednesday announced a fresh set of travel guidelines as two new, highly more infectious Covid strains- the South African and the Brazilian strains that have been detected in the country.
The Health Ministry has said that the new rules apply to all international passengers coming to the country except those from the UK, Europe and Middle East.
So far, the South African strain of the virus has been detected in four people and the Brazil strain is seen in one. The Indian Council of Medical Research, the nodal body in the country’s battle against coronavirus confirmed that except them, the UK strain has also reported 187 cases so far in the country.
The new rules suggest that only passengers who test negative in RT-PCR tests 72 hours ahead of departure will be allowed to board the aircraft. The exception will be for passengers who are travelling because of a death in the family.
The health ministry tweeted: “Attention Passengers! All incoming international travellers (except travellers coming on flights originating from the UK, Europe and Middle East) should make sure that they follow the guidelines issued by @MoHFW_India”.
The notice advisory announced that passengers travelling through the UK, Europe and the Middle East have to compulsorily get an RT-PCR upon arrival at their own expense. This will cover passengers from South Africa and Brazil as well, since there are no direct flights from these two nations. If any passenger is found positive, the virus strain will be identified and a separate set of protocol will be followed for them.
According to Dr. Balram Bhargava, ICMR chief, “the existing vaccines have the potential to neutralise the UK variant and experiments are being done to map the effectiveness of the vaccines against the South African and Brazilian variants”.
“ICMR-NIV is attempting to isolate and culture the South African strain of Covid, while the Brazil variant of Covid has been isolated and cultured at ICMR-NIV-Pune,” he said.
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