In the view of detection of Coronavirus strain in UK Maharashtra Government has issued a Standard Operating Protocol for passengers coming via flights from Europe, South Africa, and Middle-East
Sudden emergence of a fast-spreading variant of COVID-19 in UK, believed to be up to 70% more transmissible than the original strain is a cause of concern. It has been reported that a distinct Phylogenetic cluster of SARS CoV-2 (named lineage B.1.1.7) has been detected. In view of this, Government of Maharashtra, has formulated following Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) which will come into effect immediately.
This SOP shall apply for Passengers and flight/ airline staff –flights arriving from Europe, Middle-East Countries and South Africa and arriving in Maharashtra.
All the Airports and Seaports should be alerted to the possible threat of the spread of new strain of coronavirus.
An area at the far end of the airport terminal should be identified and prepared for receiving these flights.
There should be a separate set up of APHO for screening and testing of these passengers and staff. The staff of the aircraft should be kept in an isolated area following the necessary preventive measures. They should not be allowed to enter the terminal.
The airport airline staff should ensure that the passengers disembarking from the above-mentioned flights are wearing properly fitted masks, have sanitized the visible part of their hands thoroughly. In case any passenger is not wearing a mask, it should be provided to them.
All passengers will be screened for the presence of symptoms and if found symptomatic shall be subjected to RT-PCR sample testing with all the necessary precautions. These symptomatic passengers shall be sent to an identified hospital in the city and get admitted and should be treated accordingly.
All other passengers shall undergo 14 days of mandatory paid Institutional Quarantine at arrival city. These passengers shall NOT BE ALLOWED outside the designated quarantine facility before 14 days, in any condition.
Municipal Commissioner of the city where the Airport is located shall identify different category hotels as ‘Institutional Quarantine’ facility and shall also mark a dedicated health care facility for identified suspects. He shall also appoint a Nodal Officer to see the implementation of these SOPS.
All passengers should complete 14 days of Quarantine and should be RTPCR negative before discharge.
Guidelines to be followed during the transportation of the passengers from these flights
- The passengers will be transported along with their luggage to designated hotel for institutional quarantine. Paid transport shall be arranged by the Nodal Officer with the help of RTO.
- Dedicated Transportation arrangement for these passengers should be made with availability of transportation vehicles and trained staff. Guidelines to be followed at the place of stay
- The Quarantine facilities where these passengers will stay should strictly follow all the guidelines so that there should not be any intermingling of the passengers within the facility.
- The passengers shall be monitored daily for development of any symptoms through Aarogya Setu App or by health team. In case any passenger develops symptoms of COVID 19, he/she should be shifted to a specially designated hospital for treating the new strain of virus.
- If any passenger tests positive on RT-PCR, he/she should be considered to be infected with the new strain and should be immediately shifted to the designated hospital for further management
- Most important: All these activities should be done very aptly without raising any panic, or any differential behavior towards the passengers. Utmost care should be taken toward increasing the awareness of the passengers and the airport staff to the new threat, The psychological aspect of the situation should be managed very diligently so as to improve the compliance of the staff and the passengers toward following the guidelines.
The order also reads that “NO ONE FROM THESE FLIGHTS WILL GO FOR HOME QUARANTINE”.