Maharashtra revises Covid-19 guidelines for air travel

Maharashtra issues new Covid-19 guidelines for air travel in wake of Omicron

Seven-day institutional quarantine mandatory for passengers arriving in Maharashtra from South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe

Representative Image. Credit: AFP File Photo

Ending two days of confusion, the Maharashtra government on Thursday evening issued fresh guidelines on air travel for domestic and international flyers amid the threat of an outbreak of Omicron, the new variant of Covid-19. 

Earlier the Central government had taken objections over Maharashtra’s stringent guidelines, however, now it has been modified in accordance with the SOPs of the Union Health Ministry. 

In the case of domestic air travel, passengers will either have to be fully vaccinated or compulsorily carry an RT-PCR Test certificate showing negative result within 72 hours before boarding.

Read: India's first two cases of Omicron found in Karnataka

For international arrivals, the state categorised three countries -  South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe - as 'High-Risk countries'.

However, the categorisation as 'High-Risk countries' is a dynamic exercise based on the evolving situation of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 and hence, will be updated as required by the Government of Maharashtra, the order added.

It stated  that 'High-Risk' air passengers may be deplaned on priority and separate counters will be arranged by respective airport management authorities at all international airports of Maharashtra for their screening and verification. It also mandated seven-day institutional quarantine for passengers arriving in Maharashtra from the 'High-Risk countries'.

“Such all High-Risk air passengers shall have to undergo RT-PCR Test immediately on arrival at respective international airport and shall undergo mandatory 7-day institutional quarantine with second RT-PCR test to be carried out on 7th day. If any of the RT-PCR test is found to be positive, then such High-Risk air passengers shall be shifted to a hospital with Covid treatment facilities. In case result of RT-PCR test of 7th day comes negative, such High-Risk air passenger will have to undergo a further 7 days of home quarantine,” the order stated.

Meanwhile, the testing facilities in Mumbai and other big cities and business hubs like Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Amravati are being ramped up. 

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