A new set of SOPs have been issued after the cases of both the highly infectious new virus strains of South Africa and Brazil were reported in India. A fresh set of travel guidelines has been issued as two new, highly more infectious strains of Covid — the South African and the Brazilian strains — have been detected in India. The new SOPs apply to all incoming international passengers except from Europe, UK and Middle east, said the Health Ministry.
UK strain which had already been registered in India, now has 187 cases. Whereas total four cases of South African variant have been reported and only one of Brazil strain, said the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
According to the new guidelines only those passengers who tests negative in RT-PCR tests 72 hours before the departure will be allowed to board the flight. However, passengers who are travelling because of death in the family will also be allowed.
The Health Ministry informed this via a tweet, “Attention Passengers! All incoming international travellers (except travellers coming on flights originating from UK, Europe and Middle East) should make sure that they follow the guidelines issued by @MoHFW_India”.
All passengers flying from Europe, UK and the Middle East will have to go under the RT-PCR tests mandatorily at their expense immediately after their arrival and also the passengers coming from Brazil and South Africa as there are no direct flights from these two countries.
After the test if any passenger tests positive then his strain will be identified and a separate guidelines of that particular strain will be followed.
The ICMR Chief Dr Balram Bhagava said that the existing vaccines have to potential to neutralize the UK strain but it is not clear how effective those vaccines are for South African and Brazilian strains.
The experts teams are researching to find out their effectiveness against the new strains, said Bhargava.