Coronavirus: Kejriwal makes seven-day institutional quarantine mandatory for UK returnees
In view of the more infectious strain of coronavirus that sparked lockdown's return in London, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Friday that those returning from the United Kingdom and testing negative must stay in institutional quarantine for seven days in Delhi. This must be followed by seven days of home isolation. The order came after an Air India flight from the UK landed.
The order signed by Vijay Dev, Chief Secretary of Delhi, underlined that those arriving in Delhi from the UK will have to undergo a self-paid RT-PCR test at the airport. Those who test positive will be kept in a separate isolation unit, as per the directions of the federal government. And even those who test negative will be quarantined, the order added.
To protect Delhiites from exposure to virus from UK, Del govt takes imp decisions.— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 8, 2021
All those arriving from UK, who test positive will be isolated in an isolation facility. Negative ones will be taken to a quarantine facility for 7 days followed by 7 days home quarantine pic.twitter.com/hYDsaOn8q1
Earlier today, a flight from the UK, carrying 246 passengers landed in Delhi, the first aircraft to land since operations were suspended last month. The government allowed 30 flights to function every week — 15 each by Indian and UK carriers — till January 23. Apparently, Delhi Airport wants passengers to maintain a gap of ten hours between their arrival and departure to other cities.
To note, the Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government didn't agree with the government's decision to allow flights to ply. Instead, it wanted the ban to be extended till January 31. "With great difficulty, people have brought the COVID-19 situation in control. UK's COVID situation is very serious. Now, why lift the ban and expose our people to risk?" the CM had asked yesterday.
As per reports, the number of people in India to have contracted the new variant stands at 82. The samples of international travelers, who have tested positive for coronavirus, is being sent to INSACOG labs, which were specially created to monitor mutations. As per rules, if someone tests positive for the new strain, a contact-tracing exercise is launched and their family/friends are quarantined.
While the new strain is said to be 70% more transmissible, experts have maintained that vaccines would still work. Recent research confirms that the vaccine developed by US drugmaker Pfizer can provide protection from the UK and South Africa's variants of coronavirus. "Antibodies from those vaccine recipients successfully fended off the virus in lab dishes," the study, which hasn't been peer-reviewed yet, said.