INDIA

‘Omicron’ Variant: India Issues Stricter Covid-19 Guidelines For Travellers From ‘At-Risk’ Countries

Mumbai: India on Monday issued strict travel guidelines in view of the emergence of a new COVID-19 strain ‘Omicron’. The revised COVID-19 travel guidelines will be applicable for travellers from India to countries deemed ‘at risk’ irrespective of their vaccination status.

These will come into effect from December 1 and will remain in force till further developments, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) said.

Those found negative can depart the airport but will undergo home isolation for 7 days, followed by re-testing on the 8th day of arrival in India, followed by self-monitoring for 7 days.

Furthermore, in the wake of reports of an increasing number of countries reporting the Omicron variant, the current guidelines also mandate that 5% of travellers arriving from countries that are not in the ‘risk category’ be treated at random.

Samples of all persons who have tested positive for COVID-19, either under home isolation or during random sampling, will also be sent for Whole Genomic Sequencing at identified INSACOG network laboratories to determine the presence of SARS-CoV-2 variants (including Omicron), a government statement said.

B.1.1.1.529 or the ‘Omicron’ strain was first reported by South Africa to the World Health Organization (WHO) on 24 November.

It was classified on 26 November by the WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-EV). As a ‘variant of concern’ (VOC) given a large number of mutations in the variant, some of which may make this mutation “more transmissible” and have an immune avoidance behaviour.

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