Tamil Nadu issues guidelines for international travellers to curb Omicron spread

Tamil Nadu has sought permission from the Union government to mandatorily test all international passengers arriving in the state.
Passengers get into flight
Passengers get into flight
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Tamil Nadu on Friday, December 25, issued a fresh set of comprehensive guidelines following the emergence of Omicron strain of the coronavirus and said that the norms should be strictly adhered to. Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine T S Selvavinayagam said the testing should be done for individuals who had taken up international travel during the last 14 days, healthcare workers with symptoms of Covid-19 and those patients having severe acute respiratory infection (SARI).

For the international passengers arriving to the state, he said, they should self-register on the Air Suvidha Portal before the scheduled travel and also upload a negative RT-PCR report of Covid-19. Each passenger should submit a declaration with respect to authenticity of the report, he said.

Travellers arriving from "at risk" countries should submit a sample post arrival for COVID-19 test and if they test negative they would follow home quarantine for seven days. A re-test on the eighth day of their arrival in India should be done and if negative, they should further self-monitor their health. "If such travellers are tested positive, their samples should be sent for genomic testing analysis", he said.

Passengers arriving from "non-risk" countries would be allowed to leave the airport and they should self-monitor their health for 14 days post arrival. Two per cent of such travellers arriving from non-risk countries shall be tested for COVID-19 and they are tested positive, they shall be managed as per laid down standard protocol and samples would be sent for genomic sequencing analysis, he said.

The Health Department has written a letter to the Union government seeking permission for mandatory testing of international passengers arriving from all countries and the approval from the government of India was "awaited."

The official said localities in a city or a town where international travellers are found to be positive with the Omicron variant, even a single case should be included as a "containment zone" and intensive action by the health authorities should be taken up with an aim of breaking the chain of transmission.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin also sounded the alarm, stating that people must avoid crowding and strictly follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin said on Friday, December 24. 

Stalin, after chairing a high level consultative meeting appealed to the people to fully cooperate with the government to curb the virus spread.

With Tamil Nadu reporting 34 cases of Omicron variant so far and considering Christmas and New Year celebrations besides the harvest festival of Pongal next month, Stalin held a meeting of medical, public health experts and top officials at the Secretariat.

People who are yet to be vaccinated should get their dose in camps being held by local bodies and the health department. All shops, commercial complexes and cinemas should compulsorily follow guidelines to prevent the virus spread and adhere to the Standard Operating Procedure, the Chief Minister said.

"I appeal to the people to extend their full cooperation to the government in curbing the virus spread."

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