Amid fear of the new COVID variant, Jammu and Kashmir government on Friday issued fresh guidelines making rigorous screening and Covid-19 RT-PCR test mandatory for foreign travellers at the Srinagar International Airport. The new directive stipulated that incoming travellers from ‘At-Risk’ nations will have to undergo home quarantine even if they are tested negative, officials here said.
The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Secretary A K Mehta, held to review the situation in the backdrop of the highly mutated Omicron variant, which has been found to have infected people across several nations. Most of the COVID-19 containment guidelines in action will be retained, including imposing of night curfew in view of the uneven trend observed in the daily coronavirus cases, the new guidelines said. Additional measures have been issued by the State Executive Committee (SEC) in regard to the international arrivals in J&K.
“Rigorous screening and conduct of Covid-19 RT-PCR test will be made mandatory at the Srinagar International Airport for international arrivals as per the guidelines issued from time to time, order said. It said that any person found Covid-19 positive will have to undergo institutional quarantine and treated as per standard protocol. The samples of positive cases will be sent to the designated INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (IGSLs) promptly.
There will be a close tracking and testing of the contacts of travellers who have tested positive, the order said. It also directed the designated surveillance officers (DSOs) to establish a close coordination with their designated and tagged INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (IGSLs) for expediting results of genomic analysis. Necessary public health measures should be taken in case of presence of variants of concern as reported by the INSACOG network.
People from ‘At-Risk’ nations who test negative will, however, have to be in home quarantine for seven days, the order said. They should be tested again on day 8, and if tested negative will be advised to self-monitor for at least two weeks, it said.
Travellers coming from countries considered not at risk’ and whose samples have tested negative should be advised to monitor themselves carefully for at least two weeks. The government said it will implement the principle of “Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate" to prevent the spreading of the virus.