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Srinagar: COVID test and 7-day home quarantine compulsory for international passengers

Srinagar : Amid concerns over the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, RT PCR test of all international passengers arriving at Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar Airport would be conducted, followed by a seven-day home quarantine for those who test negative.

In view of the government advisory, the special meeting chaired by Kashmir Divisional Commissioner (Div Com) Pandurang K Pole has decided to make the on-spot RT PCR test mandatory for all international passengers at Srinagar Airport, irrespective of travelers previous negative report or vaccination status.

As per a press release of the Department of Information and Public Relation, Jammu and Kashmir, it was further decided that if the RT PCR report turns negative, the passenger shall be kept under home quarantine for the first week and retested on the eighth day of home quarantine or whenever traveler develops symptoms during the course of quarantine.

“If the report of RT PCR comes negative, he/she will self-monitor for one more week at strict home quarantine,” the release stated.

“However, if the first test of the international traveler comes out positive then the person will be shifted to DRDO hospital Khunmoh and the testing sample shall be sent for whole genome sequencing to know whether they are infected by the new COVID-19 variant of Omicron or any other strain,” the release further read.

During the meeting, it was informed that B.1.1.529 new variant is possibly 500 per cent competitively more infectious and has rapidly spread in South Africa, Some European Countries, and Some Asian countries also.

Besides, it was also informed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance note mentions that the current RT PCR test continues to be effective in detecting the new variant.

As per the department’s release, the Divisional Covid Control Room (DCCR) Kashmir also gave the plan for strengthening surveillance of international passengers, enhanced testing, monitoring of hot spots, ensuring augmentation of health infrastructure, prompt dispatch of genome sequencing and other actions.

Pole stressed on widespread campaigning of the Do’s and Don’ts, Information Education Communication (IEC) for Confidence Building and Fear Mitigation especially IEC materials with messaging and information in local language for ASHAs, ANMs and other stakeholders.