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7+7 quarantine for fliers from abroad

Passengers who are found symptomatic during airport arrival screening will be isolated and sent to medical facility
A medic takes samples from a man arriving from Myanmar at Anna International Airport in Chennai on Sunday.

G.S. Mudur   |   New Delhi   |   Published 24.05.20, 09:01 PM

All international travellers arriving in India would need to undergo mandatory quarantine for seven days in a paid facility at their own cost followed by seven more days under home isolation, the Union health ministry said on Sunday.

Until now, passengers coming in on the special flights arranged by the Indian government to bring Indians from abroad had to stay in paid quarantine facilities — typically private hotels — for 14 days.

Although India has not announced a date yet for resumption of international flights into the country, aviation minister Hardeep Puri had said on Saturday that the country would like to resume flights “before August”.

The ministry’s new guidelines also clarify that passengers who are found symptomatic during airport arrival screening shall be isolated and sent to medical facility.

The other passengers shall be taken to institutional quarantine facilities to be arranged by the state or Union Territory governments.

Passengers under seven-day institutional quarantine will be tested under the Indian Council of Medical Research protocols that specify that all patients showing signs of an influenza-like illness (ILI) with a history of international travel in the past 14 days will be tested.

However, the guidelines specify that under exceptional or compelling reasons such as cases of human distress, pregnancy, death in family, serious illness and parents accompanied by children below 10 years, home quarantine may be permitted for 14 days.

Passengers under home isolation would need to download Aarogya Setu, a mobile app that tracks a person’s geographic coordinates and is being promoted as a shield to caution people when they come close to a Covid-19 positive patient.

Passengers who are tested and found Covid-19 positive will be assessed by doctors and would be allowed home isolation or provided isolation in a Covid-19 care centre if they have mild or no symptoms.

The health ministry had on April 28 issued guidelines to allow Covid-19 patients with mild or no symptoms to be kept under home isolation under certain conditions — their homes need to lend themselves for home isolation and quarantine for other household members, a caregiver should be present at home 24 hours, and patients should contact the nearest health facility if they develop any signs of serious illness such as fever or breathlessness.

Passengers who test positive and have moderate or severe symptoms would be admitted to dedicated Covid-19 health facilities for clinical management, the guidelines specify. Those who are negative would be asked to isolate themselves in their homes for seven days and self-monitor their health.

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