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Centre vs Maha? Union Health Secy Tells State Its Omicron Travel Rules in ‘Divergence’ With GoI Norms

Arriving passengers leave a terminal at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai on December 1, 2021. (AFP)

Arriving passengers leave a terminal at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai on December 1, 2021. (AFP)

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has urged the Maharashtra govt to align the orders issued by it amid the Omicron threat with the guidelines of the Health Ministry.

The Centre on Wednesday told Maharashtra government that the restrictions imposed by it on international passengers in the wake of the Omicron threat are in “divergence” with the SoPs issued by the Health Ministry on November 28.

In a letter, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has urged Maharashtra to align the orders issued by the state government with the guidelines of the Health Ministry.

Bhushan’s letter mentioned four guidelines specifically: i) Mandatory RT-PCR testing of all international travellers at the Mumbai airport, irrespective of country of origin; ii) Mandatory 14-day home quarantine for all international passengers, despite being tested RT-PCR negative upon arrival; iii) Mandatory RT-PCR test for passengers planning to undertake connecting flights after disembarking at Mumbai and further travel subject to a negative RT-PCR result; iv) Requirement of negative RT-PCR test 48 hours prior to the date of the journey for domestic passengers travelling from other states to Maharashtra.

Bhushan urged the Maharashtra government to align its travel norms with that of the Centre’s “so that uniform implementation of the guidelines may be ensured across all states/UTs”.

RELATED NEWS

The Maharashtra government on Tuesday imposed new rules for international passengers in the wake of the global alarm sparked by the new Omicron Covid-19 variant with a “horrific” spike profile. According to the new order, the immigration department will check the foreign travel history of 15 days of all passengers landing in the state. A special proforma is being readied for the purpose. The order stated that violation in declaring travel details will invite action.

The state government has also mandated 7-day home isolation for all those who test negative on arrival. This is besides the mandatory institutional quarantine of 7 days for those arriving from ‘at risk nations’. The nations that are currently on the ‘at-risk’ list of India are European countries, including the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.

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first published:December 01, 2021, 16:09 IST