A new variant of coronavirus, reportedly more infectious, has spread to several countries in the world after being detected in the UK. The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday issued a Standard Operating Procedure for epidemiological surveillance and response in the context of new variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus. According to the fresh guidelines, RT-PCR tests will be made mandatory on arrival and separate isolation centres will be st up for those who test positive for the new coronavirus strain.
Guidelines for passengers arriving from UK
- Those international travellers from UK who arrived in India from 25th November to 8th December 2020 (1st & 2nd week from 25th November) will be contacted by District Surveillance Officers & advised to self-monitor their health.
- State govts shall ensure that passengers travelling from or transiting through airports in UK & disembarking in India would be subjected to RT-PCR test on arrival. In case of a positive sample, spike gene-based RT-PCR test should also be performed.
- While flights between India and UK have been suspended temporarily with effect from December 23, all passengers coming from UK during the intervening period from December 21 to 23, 2020 shall be subjected to COVID-19 test on arrival.
- All international travellers will be required to declare travel history of past 14 days and fill up the self-declaration form to be screened for COVID-19.
- Passengers testing positive shall be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in a separate (isolation) unit coordinated by the respective State Health Authorities. They would earmark specific facilities for such isolation and treatment.
- Necessary action to send the samples to National Institute of Virology(NIV), Pune or any other appropriate lab for genomic sequencing will be initiated at the facility level.
- If the genomic sequencing indicates the presence of new variant of SARS-CoV-2 then the patient will continue to remain in a separate isolation unit. While necessary treatment as per the existing protocol will be given, the patient shall be tested on 14th day, after having tested positive in the initial test.
- In case the sample is found positive on 14th day, further sample may be taken until his two consecutive samples taken 24 hours apart are tested negative.
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