7-day home quarantine for all international arrivals in India
The central government on Friday issued a revised guideline for international passengers traveling to India amid a massive surge in COVID-19 cases across the country. The passengers will have to go into mandatory home quarantine for at least one week and take a coronavirus test on the eighth day. The new rules will come into effect from Tuesday (January 11).
Why does this story matter?
- The fresh rules have been announced amid concerns over an exponential surge in coronavirus cases.
- India reported over one lakh new infections on Friday morning, marking the highest single-day surge in more than 200 days.
- In fact, India's daily COVID-19 cases have increased from 10,000 to over a lakh in just eight days.
- Experts say the spike is driven by the new Omicron variant.
What if a passenger tests positive on 8th day?
If an international passenger tests positive on the eighth day, they will be sent to an isolation facility and their samples will undergo genome sequencing to determine the variant. Passengers seated near them and the cabin crew will be treated as their contacts. In case the test report is negative, passengers "will further self-monitor their health for next seven days," according to the rules.
List of 'at risk' countries expanded
Separately, the number of countries labeled "at risk" has been increased to 19 as nine more have been added. The list now includes South Africa, Brazil, China, Ghana, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Hong Kong, Israel, Congo, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, and the United Kingdom, among others. Passengers from these nations will take a test and wait for the results before leaving the airport.
Other rules for international passengers
Meanwhile, passengers found symptomatic during screening will be isolated and taken to a medical facility. If they are diagnosed with COVID-19, their contacts will be traced. In case travelers under home quarantine or self-health monitoring develop coronavirus symptoms, they will be required to immediately self-isolate and report to their nearest health facility. All passengers will also be advised to download the Aarogya Setu app.
COVID-19 situation in India
On Friday, India reported over 1,17,000 new COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, the country's tally of infections involving the Omicron variant jumped by 377 to reach 3,007, according to data from the Health Ministry. Maharashtra has recorded the highest number of Omicron infections at 876, followed by national capital Delhi (465 infections). The central government has urged several states and union territories to ramp up testing.