December 3, 2021 10:56 pm

Omicron Scare: J&K Tightens Travel Rules For Int'l Arrivals

KO Photo By Abid Bhat

RT-PCR Test, Quarantine Made Mandatory For Overseas Travellers

Jammu: 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,'' the order said.

It said that any person found Covid-19 positive will have to undergo institutional quarantine and be 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.

More Testing Kiosks To Come Up At Airport

Meanwhile the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday ordered establishment of additional Covid testing kiosks for the convenience of international as well as domestic passengers at the Srinagar International Airport besides directed for establishment of private RT-PCR testing facility for those passengers who will prefer to avail such facilities.

These directions were passed by the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Pandurang K Pole on Friday while taking stock of measures put in place for handling of international passengers at Srinagar International Airport to contain the spread of Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Kashmir, an official spokesperson said.

Pole, he said, also chaired a meeting with Director Srinagar Airport Authority; CMO, Srinagar, DCCRK officers, CISF officers, Medical Officer Srinagar Airport and other officers.

According to the official spokesperson, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir stressed for conducting the RT-PCR test of all international travellers upon their arrival at Srinagar International Airport.

“He enjoined that after collection of samples travellers should be sent to administrative quarantine either government or private as per their choice,” he said.

“Besides, he directed for establishing additional covid testing kiosks for the convenience of international as well as domestic passengers at the Srinagar International Airport besides directed for establishment of private RT-PCR testing facility for those passengers who will prefer to avail such facilities,” he added.

As per the official spokesperson, the Div Com directed for establishment of an IT desk at Srinagar International Airport to get the details of Srinagar bound international travellers in advance so the passengers arriving to connecting flights are not missed.

Pole, he said, also directed for transportation of passengers to administrative quarantine centres established at Marriage Hall Sanat Nagar, Abi Hayat Hotel Boulevard and other centres. He also visited the two quarantine centres to check the facilities available to the persons isolated for mandatory quarantine.

“He stressed on coordination among the concerned agencies and deployment of dedicated medical staff at Covid Care and quarantine Centres,” he said.

“On the Occasion, he stressed on maintaining proper registration of persons including their contact details admitted by respective quarantine centres. Besides, he also checked the quality food to be served there,” he added.

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