Omicron: What are the travel rules in different Indian states?
India has officially reported two cases of the new, heavily mutated Omicron variant of coronavirus. Both were detected in the southern state of Karnataka in men aged over 45 years. In the wake of the threat, the central and state governments have stepped up testing and quarantine rules for international arrivals. Here are the rules in different Indian states.
What are the Centre's rules?
All international passengers need to fill a self-declaration form and submit a negative RT-PCR report before the journey. Those arriving from "at-risk" nations must give their samples for testing. If found positive, they will be quarantined and their samples will be sent for genome sequencing. If found negative, they will undergo a seven-day home quarantine and a retest on the eighth day.
Which countries are labeled 'at-risk'?
Countries that have been labeled "at-risk" by the Indian government include Brazil, Botswana, China, Hong Kong, Israel, Mauritius, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and all the European nations, including the United Kingdom. National capital Delhi and most states are following the travel guidelines as issued by the Centre. However, states like Maharashtra and Karnataka have further tightened restrictions.
Maharashtra's institutional quarantine for 3 nations
Maharashtra has classified three countries as high-risk: South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. International passengers coming from those countries have to compulsorily undergo institutional quarantine for seven days. A second RT-PCR test will be conducted on the seventh day. If found positive, they will be shifted to a hospital and if negative, they would be quarantined at home for another week.
Karnataka imposes mandatory home quarantine
International travelers from at-risk countries need to undergo an RT-PCR test and remain in home quarantine for seven days. Those who are symptomatic but test negative will have to undergo testing at home on the fifth day. Those who don't have symptoms will take the test on the seventh day. If found positive, they will be shifted to the isolation ward of a hospital.
Strict curbs in place in Uttarakhand
In addition to the Centre's guidelines, Uttarakhand has placed several other restrictions. Officials have been instructed to conduct random testing at the state's borders. District authorities will also test all healthcare and frontline workers in accordance with the latest guidelines. Further, samples of all COVID-19 positive people will be sent to the Government Medical College in Dehradun for genome sequencing.