Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued Standard Operating Procedure for Epidemiological Surveillance & Response for the new variant of SARS-CoV-2 in the context of regulated resumption of limited flights originating from United Kingdom (UK) to India from January 8, 2021.
An SOP is issued in the context of the new variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus detected in United Kingdom.
According to the SOP, all passengers coming from the U.K. between January 8 and January 30 would be subjected to self-paid COVID-19 tests on arrival. Each passenger arriving from the U.K. would have to bring his or her COVID-19 negative report from a test done 72 hours prior to the journey.
“Airlines to ensure the availability of negative test report before allowing the passenger to board the flight,” the Health Ministry’s SOP stated.
Adequate arrangements should be made for the passengers who will be waiting for their RT-PCR test or its results at the airport.
“Passengers testing positive shall be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in a separate [isolation] unit coordinated by the respective State health authorities,” the SOP said.
If the genomic sequencing indicates the presence of the new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the patient will continue to remain in a separate isolation unit, it said.
The patient will be tested on the 14th day after having tested positive and he or she will be kept in the isolation facility till his or her sample has tested negative, it added.
If a passenger tests COVID-positive on arrival, passengers seated in the same row, three rows in front, and three rows behind would also be subjected to institutional quarantine in separate quarantine centres, the SOP said.
The passengers who are found COVID-negative after the tests conducted at the airport would be advised home quarantine for 14 days and the concerned State or district administration should regularly follow up with them, it said.
“It has been decided that flights between India and the UK will resume from January 8. Operations till January 23 will be restricted to 15 flights per week each for carriers of the two countries to and from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad only,” civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in a tweet.