New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: As the country reported fresh cases of South African and Brazilian strain of coronavirus, the government on Wednesday issued new standard operating procedures for all international flyers. As per the new SOPs, all international travellers coming/transiting from flights originating from the UK, Europe and the Middle East will have to show their travel history for the past 14 days.

The new guidelines, which will be in force from February 23, also mandated the passenger to submit a self-declaration form (SDF) for COVID on the online Air Suvidha Portal prior to the scheduled travel.

'All the travellers arriving from/transiting through flights originating in the United Kingdom, Europe or the Middle East will be mandatorily subjected to self-paid confirmatory molecular tests on arrival at the Indian airports concerned'. 'While filling SDF the passengers will need to select whether they plan to disembark at the arrival airport or take further flights to reach their final destination in India', the guidelines stated.

The government said that 'keeping in mind the testing requirements for passengers from UK, Brazil and South Africa, who have to take connecting flights, airlines should keep the passengers informed about the need for the transit time of a minimum of 6-8 hours at the entry airport (in India) while booking the tickets for connecting flights, the guidelines further stated.

'The airlines will need to identify the international travellers arriving from/transiting through the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa (during past 14 days) and segregate them in-flight or while disembarking to facilitate the authorities to follow the due protocol in respect of these travellers'.

'Travellers from Brazil, South Africa and the United Kingdom, testing positive (either at the airport or subsequently during home quarantine period or their contacts who turn positive) will be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in a separate (isolation) unit coordinated by the respective state health authorities'.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) in consultation with the Ministry of Civil Aviation has reviewed the situation with regard to point-of-entry actions required to minimise the risk of importation of mutant strains of coronavirus. India is following point-of-entry procedures for identifying international travellers, particularly at-risk travellers to India through a multi-pronged strategy of thermal screening and testing.

This comes days after the Union Health Ministry informed that few cases of South African and Brazilian COVID-19 variants have been reported in India in the past few weeks. Four people were detected with the South Africa variant of SARS-CoV-2 in India in January, while one tested positive for the Brazil variant strain in the first week of February. The Health Ministry also said that India has so far reported 187 cases of infection with the UK variant of COVID-19 virus

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan