TN to test all int'l arrivals irrespective of 'risk'

Tamil Nadu to test all international arrivals irrespective of country of origin, says state health minister

The decision was taken after it was found that many who tested positive for the Omicron variant were from countries currently not designated as 'at-risk'

A view of the Chennai airport. Credit: PTI Photo

Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian on Saturday said the state government has made home isolation and eight-day exit test mandatory for all international passengers arriving in the state.

The state health department has tightened the mandatory norms after several cases of Omicron variant were reported by passengers who arrived in the state from countries not designated as 'at-risk'. Botswana, Brazil, South Africa, China, Israel, Mauritius, New Zealand, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Hong Kong, and all countries in Europe, including the UK, are currently designated as 'at-risk.'.

The minister in a statement on Saturday said, "We will continue with the mandatory requirements for passengers from 'at-risk' countries that are mentioned above including testing on arrival and home isolation for eight days if found negative and then exit test; but the same will now be implemented to passengers who reach the state from 'not-at-risk' countries also as there are several reports of Omicron variant being detected from passengers who arrives from 'not-at-risk' countries also."

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Till Saturday, there was only a 2 per cent random test for passengers who arrived from 'not-at-risk' countries and none of them had to wait for results but were advised to monitor their health condition for two weeks. He said that they were called for hospital isolation only when they tested positive, as per the Central government guidelines.

The health minister said that the department will now be stepping up testing and monitoring. The minister said that police, revenue, health, and local government bodies will monitor the health condition of passengers who are in quarantine.

Passengers in domestic flights will also be asked to provide their travel history, the minister said.

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