Home / News / India /  Covid Alert! Random testing for arriving international flyers begins tomorrow

Around 2% of passengers arriving on each international flight will be subject to random coronavirus tests from tomorrow, December 24, the Central government said on Thursday. The health ministry has written to the civil aviation ministry in this regard.

In the letter, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said if anybody found Covid-19 positive, the sample should be sent for genome testing at the designated INSACOG laboratory network, as per PTI reports.

Travelers will be allowed to leave the airport after submitting samples for random testing, he said.

Bhushan stated that a copy of the positive report shall be shared with Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme at shoc.idsp@ncdc.gov.in by the concerned testing laboratory (besides sharing with the APHOS) to be in turn shared with the concerned state or Union Territory for further follow-up action.

As a result of its sustained efforts and focus on the five-fold strategy of test-track-treat-vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour, India has been able to effectively restrict the spread of Covid-19 transmission in the country so far, the letter read.

Globally, the number of Covid cases continues to remain high with around 5.9 lakh daily new cases reported on average during the week ending on December 19, 2022.

This spike in the trajectory of Covid-19 is particularly concerning with respect to Japan, the United States of America, South Korea, Brazil, France, and China where cases are increasing in a sustained manner.

"...it has been decided that the ministry of civil aviation in coordination with airport operators and AirPort Health Offices (APHOS) shall ensure" two percent of the total passengers in the flight shall undergo random post-arrival testing at the airport, the letter added, as quoted by PTI. 

Bhushan further stated that such travelers on each flight shall be identified by the concerned airlines. "This arrangement shall come into the practice with effect from 10:00 am on Saturday, December 24, 2022," the letter said.

These post-arrival protocols were also issued by the health ministry separately in its Guidelines for International Arrivals (in supersession of guidelines issued on the subject on November 21, 2022).

Children under 12 years of age are exempted from post-arrival random testing. However, if found symptomatic for Covid-19 on arrival or during the period of self-monitoring period, they shall undergo treatment as per laid guidelines.


(With PTI inputs)

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