Amid concerns over the Omicron variant of coronavirus, Maharashtra has mandated seven-day institutional quarantine for travellers arriving in the state from 'at-risk' countries.
The State Disaster Management Authority on Tuesday night issued the guidelines, an official said.
The list of 'at-risk' countries is announced by the Union government.
What do the new guidelines state?
According to the guidelines, the international passengers arriving from at-risk countries (declared by the Government of India from time to time) may be deplaned on priority and separate counters will be arranged by MIAL and Airport Authority for their checking. All such passengers shall have to undergo mandatory seven-day institutional quarantine and RT-PCR test to be carried out on days 2, 4 and 7 for these passengers.
The order copy read, "If any of the tests is found to be positive, then the passenger shall be shifted to a hospital. In case of all tests coming negative, the passenger will have to undergo a further seven days of home quarantine."
Passengers from any other countries except the at-risk countries will have to compulsorily undergo RT-PCR test at the airport on arrival and on being found negative, will have to undergo 14 days of home quarantine.
If found positive, they will be shifted to the hospital. In case of an international passenger having a connecting flight to any other airport in India (without leaving the airport at all), passenger shall undergo an RT-PCR test at the first arrival airport in Maharashtra and only on being found negative will he be allowed to board the connecting flight. Information about such passengers shall be passed on by the airline of the connecting flight to the destination airport before take-off so that the destination airport can make arrangements for segregating these passengers on arrival.
In case such a passenger is taking a connecting flight to an airport in Maharashtra, the passenger shall be subjected to quarantine rules mentioned herein for landing directly from an international source.
In the case of domestic air travel, passengers travelling within the State will either have to be fully vaccinated or compulsorily carry an RT-PCR test within 48 hours of the time of arrival. In case of passengers from other States, negative RT-PCR test within 48 hours of arrival will be compulsory without exceptions
How to book an RT-PCR on arrival?
According to an official CSMIA statement, adequate RT-PCR testing facility in international arrivals in form of 48 registration counters an 40 sampling booths have been set up.
In addition to normal RT-PCR, 30 Rapid PCR machines, are available for the passengers having connecting onward flights with short connecting time. This facility will be upscaled further if required, the statement said.
Passengers who have not done their pre booking of RT-PCR test online, QR codes have been displayed at various locations in the arrival corridor, the statement said.
Physical forms for RT-PCR registration are also made available to passengers on board with help of airlines which they can fill before disembarking from flight and thus avoid queuing for the registration on arrival. A large sitting area for the passengers awaiting their RT-PCR results has been be activated with Amenities like washrooms, F & B, the statement said further.
While no cases of Omicron have been reported so far in India, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday advised states not to let their guard down and keep a strict vigil on the international passengers coming to the country through various airports, ports and land border crossings.
(With agency inputs)