Bengaluru: RT-PCR must for those from high-risk nations

Bengaluru: Testing, quarantine mandatory for travellers from high-risk countries amid Omicron scare

Representative image. Credit: DH Photo

The passengers from countries which have reported the new Omicron Covid variant will be tested for Covid on arrival and they will have to undergo mandatory home quarantine, Health Minister K Sudhakar said.

However, confusion prevails as the Bangalore International Airport authorities confirmed that there are no direct or transit flights from the affected countries - Belgium, Israel, Hong Kong, Botswana and South Africa.

Sudhakar said that if the travellers from the affected countries test positive, they will stay in and around the airport and will be treated, if needed.

Asked if a passenger’s passport will be checked if he/she has been to any of the affected countries and landed in other airports of the country, before taking a flight to Bengaluru, airport authorities said they were only to follow circulars issued by the state and central governments so far.

A BIAL spokesperson said, “If a passenger is coming from any of the countries in the Middle East but has been to one of the affected countries before that, then he/she will be segregated and tested. But the state government needs to clarify the period for which a passenger’s travel history has to be checked: only past 24 hours or more.”

BIAL has no data on the number of such transit passengers from affected countries who have landed in Bengaluru, and whether they have been tested.

When pointed out that Belgium, one of the affected countries, was not on the list of at-risk countries and airport authorities were testing only those flying from the 12 at-risk countries, Karnataka Health Secretary T K Anil Kumar sought more time to clarify.

“In the state government circulars so far we have merely reiterated what the central government has mandated,” he said.

14 days post-arrival

As per the central government’s circular dated October 20 (which the state government reissued on October 25) passengers from at-risk countries if fully vaccinated have to merely self-monitor their health for 14 days post-arrival. If a passenger is not vaccinated or is only partially vaccinated, a post-arrival Covid test is done, and the passenger is in home quarantine for seven days.

A retest is done on the eighth day, and if negative, the passenger will be asked to self-monitor his/her health for the next seven days.

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