Following the identification of a new strain of the Covid-19 in the United Kingdom, the Government of India (GOI) has issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for Epidemiological Surveillance and Response on Tuesday.
According to the Centre's order, all international passengers who have travelled from or transited through the UK between November 25 to December 23, are required to declare their travel history in the past 14 days and fill up the Self Declaration Form for Covid-19 screening.
The order states that respective state governments must ensure that all passengers travelling from or transiting through airports in the UK and disembarking in India will be subjected to RT-PCR test on arrival. In the case of a positive sample, the Centre recommended that an appropriate laboratory must perform the spike gene-based RT-PCR test.
Those 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 set aside specific facilities for such isolation and treatment. Necessary action to send the samples to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune or any other appropriate lab for genomic sequencing will be initiated at the facility level.
Those who are found negative on testing with RT-PCR at the airport would be advised quarantine at home and must be followed upon. Concerned airlines have been asked to ensure that before check-in, the passenger is explained about this SOP. In-flight announcements must also be made explaining the relevant information to the passengers. Relevant information in this regard shall be prominently displayed in the arrival area and waiting area of the airports.
Those international passengers from the UK who arrived in India from November 25 to December 8 will be contacted by the district surveillance officers and advised to self-monitor their health.
If a passenger covered within this SOP, travels to another state, their information must be notified immediately to the concerned state health authority. If any passenger is not traceable initially or during any duration while being followed up should be immediately notified to Central Surveillance Unit of IDSP by the district surveillance officer.
The flights from the UK stand suspended temporarily from December 23 till December 31, 2020, or till further orders from the central government.