A day after the aviation ministry announced that passenger flights between the UK and India will be resumed from January 8, 2021, the government issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for flyers who will be arriving from the United Kingdom amid fears over new coronavirus strain. Upon arrival in India, UK-returned passengers will have to produce a negative Covid-19 certificate from a test done within 72 hours prior to the journey, the health ministry said in the detailed SOPs issued today.
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 centers, the SOP said. “Passengers testing positive shall be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in a separate (isolation) unit coordinated by the respective state health authorities,” it stated.
Moreover, it asserted that 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. “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.
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 further.
It also asked the states/UTs (union territories) government to set up help desks at airports to facilitate the implementation of the SOP.
The ministry also clarified that the Standard Operating Procedure shall be valid till January 30 (23:59 Hrs IST) or further orders whichever is earlier.