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Government to review easing of travel restrictions amid the rise of Omicron

The Indian government will review the plan of easing travel restrictions after a new variant of SARS-COV2 is spreading rapidly, triggering global alarm. PM Narendra Modi has directed top officials at a meeting said the officials need to be proactive in the light of the new threat.

The WHO has considered B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern, and an early analysis of the variant showed that this variant would be a serious threat than the Delta variant, which had previously triggered devastating effects in several countries.

“The PM highlighted the need for monitoring all international arrivals, their testing as per guidelines, with a specific focus on countries identified ‘at risk’. The PM also asked officials to review plans for easing international travel restrictions in light of the emerging new evidence,” said the government in a statement.

“intensive containment and active surveillance should continue in clusters reporting higher cases,”  continued in the statement.

“People need to be more cautious and take proper precautions like masking and social distancing,” the PM said at the meeting.

This new directive comes after the aviation ministry announced easing travel restrictions and removing the conditional resumption of scheduled international flights from December 15th. 

Countries like the UK, Germany, Singapore, Israel, France, and Italy have restricted air travel from southern Africa, where the new variant is wreaking havoc.

Multiple Indian states have already announced that they would be stepping up their vigil on passengers arriving from International Destinations. 

Karnataka has said that the RT-PCR test from International Travellers is a must and mandatory home quarantine in the new directive released by the state government.

During the meeting, PM has instructed officials to coordinate with states to ensure adequate buffer stocks of various medicines and asked them to work with the states to review the functioning of medical infrastructure, including pediatric facilities.

The PM also called for genome sequencing of samples from international travelers and the community as per norms.

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