Omicron: TS to test all passengers arriving from 12 'at-risk' countries

The passengers will have to stay at the airport till their reports are out. In case a person tests positive, s/he will have to undergo 14-days isolation at TIMS, Gachibowli.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  30 Nov 2021 12:32 PM GMT
Omicron: TS to test all passengers arriving from 12 at-risk countries

Hyderabad: The Telangana director of public health on Tuesday said passengers arriving from 12 'at-risk' countries which has reported the Omicron variant of COVID-19 will have to undergo RT-PCR test at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad from Tuesday midnight. The health department will start implementing the new guidelines for international arrivals issued by the ministry of health and family welfare (MOHFW).

The 12 at-risk countries include all countries in Europe and South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Israel.

The passengers will have to stay at the airport till their reports are out. In case a person tests positive, s/he will have to undergo 14-days isolation at TIMS, Gachibowli. The positive samples will be sent to the laboratories in CCMB, CDFD, and Gandhi Hospital to identify the variant. Those who test negative will be asked to undergo home quarantine.

The health officials said no Omicron cases have been reported so far. In the last 24-hours, the surveillance teams of the state health department at Shamshabad airport have tested 41 international passengers who arrived from the United Kingdom (22), Europe (17), and Singapore (2) where Omicron has been reported.

All international travellers have tested negative for COVID-19 and are now in mandatory home quarantine, senior health officials said. Apart from passengers arriving from at-risk countries, the surveillance teams are also randomly collecting at least five per cent of the samples from international passengers arriving from any foreign country at the Shamshabad international airport.

"We have increased surveillance at the airport. Around 10 teams of the health department have been deployed at the airport for surveillance," said the director of public health (DPH). He also added that even if a person tests negative, s/he has to take the test after a few days.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said that Rapid Antigen Test and RT-PCR can detect the new variant.

The health department said as per the Central government guidelines, people have to register themselves 72 hours before catching the flight on the Air Suvidha portal. They have to provide all the details on the portal.

"If someone is coming from South Africa and landing in Mumbai and from there s/he is going to come to some districts in Telangana, the person has to provide all the details of his travel on the portal. From there we will get all the details and our health workers will track down the person and will look for his health condition," said the DPH.

Since 11 November, a total of 1,570 international passengers have been screened at the airport. Senior health officials said only 13 individuals (out of the 1,570) were partially vaccinated and had to undergo RT-PCR testing at the airport itself. All of them had tested negative and were directed to quarantine themselves at home for 14 days.

The DPH also said that around 25 lakh patients are still due for the second dose of the vaccine. Currently, 46% of the population is completely vaccinated. In Hyderabad and Karimnagar, 71% of the people have been completely vaccinated.

"We are going to conduct a special drive for all those who missed the second dose. We are targeting 100% first dose vaccination by the end of December," the DPH said.

People who have not taken the vaccine dose but received a message stating they took the jab can lodge their grievance by dialling 104 or calling 9154170960.

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