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Passengers wearing protective face masks wait to exit upon arrival at airport (REUTERS)
Passengers wearing protective face masks wait to exit upon arrival at airport (REUTERS)

DDMA issues order for strict compliance of Centre's SOP for UK returnees

  • India had suspended all flights to and from the United Kingdom from December 23 to 31
  • Nine residents of the national capital have been found infected with the new coronavirus strain

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority on Thursday issued an order to various authorities to ensure strict compliance of the Union health ministry's SOP for testing and isolating passengers returning from the UK, where a more virulent strain of Covid-19 has been found.

The DDMA issued the order to the top officials of the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the health department and district level disaster management authorities.

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India had suspended all flights to and from the United Kingdom from December 23 to 31 to check the spread of the new variant of coronavirus. However, flights between the two countries are set to resume from January 8.

The DDMA considers it "necessary to take effective measures to prevent" the spread of Covid-19 in Delhi, the order stated.

It directed AAI chairperson, principal secretary of Delhi's Department of Health and Family Welfare, all District Disaster Management Authorities and all authorities concerned to ensure strict compliance of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the Union health ministry on January 2.

According to the ministry's SOP, all passengers coming from the UK between January 8 and January 30 would be subjected to self-paid Covid-19 tests on arrival.

Moreover, each passenger arriving from the UK would have to bring his or her Covid-19 negative report from a test done 72 hours prior to the journey, it said.

Passengers who test positive shall be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in a separate unit coordinated by the respective state health authorities, the SOP said.

If the genomic sequencing indicates the presence of the new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the patient will continue to remain in a separate isolation unit till his or her sample tests negative, it had said.

Earlier in the day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged the Centre to extend the ban on flights between India and the UK till January 31 in view of the "extremely serious" Covid-19 situation there.

In a tweet, he said, "With great difficulty, people have brought COVID situation in control. UK's Covid situation is very serious. Now, why lift ban and expose our people to risk?"

Nine residents of the national capital have been found infected with the new coronavirus strain, sources had said on Wednesday.

Sixty-six people, including those who recently returned from the UK and their contacts, have tested positive for coronavirus. Most of them have been kept in a separate isolation facility at the LNJP Hospital here, they had said.

The presence of the new UK variant of the virus has also been reported by Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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