TS to test all passengers from 12 ‘at risk’ countries
Hyderabad: Telangana’s director of public health said on Tuesday that passengers arriving from 12 ‘at risk’ countries who have reported the Omicron variant of COVID-19 will have to undergo an RT-PCR test at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Shamshabad from midnight Tuesday. The Department of Health will begin implementing the new guidelines for international arrivals issued by the Department of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW).
The 12 countries at risk include all countries in Europe and South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.
Passengers will need to stay at the airport until their reports are released. If a person tests positive, they will need to undergo 14-day isolation at TIMS, Gachibowli. Positive samples will be sent to the laboratories of CCMB, CDFD and Gandhi Hospital to identify the variant. Those who test negative will be asked to undergo a home quarantine.
Health officials said no cases of Omicron have been reported so far. Over the past 24 hours, Shamshabad Airport State Health Department surveillance teams tested 41 international passengers arriving from the UK (22), Europe (17) and Singapore ( 2) where Omicron has been reported.
All international travelers have tested negative for COVID-19 and are now in mandatory home quarantine, senior health officials said. In addition to passengers arriving from countries at risk, surveillance teams also randomly collect at least five percent of samples of international passengers arriving from any foreign country at Shamshabad International Airport.
“We have strengthened surveillance at the airport. About ten teams from the health service have been deployed to the airport for surveillance,” said the director of public health (DPH). He also added that even if a person is negative, they should take the test after a few days.
The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) said rapid antigen testing and RT-PCR can detect the new variant.
The health department said that according to central government guidelines, people must check in 72 hours before boarding the flight on the Air Suvidha portal. They must provide all the details on the portal.
“If someone comes from South Africa and lands in Mumbai and from there he / she is going to some districts of Telangana, the person has to provide all the details of his trip on the portal. From there we will have all the details and our health workers will locate the person and investigate their condition, ”said the DPH.
Since November 11, a total of 1,570 international passengers have been screened at the airport. Senior health officials said only 13 people (out of 1,570) were partially vaccinated and had to undergo RT-PCR tests at the airport itself. All had tested negative and were asked to go into home quarantine for 14 days.
The DPH also said that around 25 lakh patients have yet to receive the second dose of the vaccine. Currently, 46% of the population is fully vaccinated. In Hyderabad and Karimnagar, 71% of people have been fully immunized.
“We are going to carry out a special campaign for all those who missed the second dose. We are aiming for a 100% vaccination of the first dose by the end of December,” said the DPH.
People who have not taken the dose of the vaccine but have received a message indicating that they have taken the vaccine can file a complaint by dialing 104 or calling 9154170960.