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Omicron threat: Centre raps Maharashtra govt over COVID-19 guidelines for international passengers

11:34 PM Dec 01, 2021 | Sanjay Jog

Mumbai: The Centre on Wednesday rapped the Maharashtra government for imposition of restrictions on the movement of international travellers citing the Omicron variant of COVID-19. It has asked the state government to align with the Centre's travel guidelines for uniform implementation.

The union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan, in a letter to the state public health additional chief secretary Pradeep Vyas, claimed that the guidelines pertaining to the RTPCR test and 14-day home quarantine are at variance with the SOPs and guidelines issued by the Centre.

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The Centre has taken serious objection to the imposition of mandatory RTPCR testing on all international travellers at Mumbai airport, irrespective of country of origin and the mandatory 14-day home quarantine for all international passengers despite testing RTPCR negative upon arrival.

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Further, the Centre has objected to the state government’s move to impose mandatory RTPCR test for passengers planning to take connecting flights after disembarking at Mumbai and further travel; there is an additional requirement of negative RTPCR test 48 hours prior to date of journey for domestic passengers travelling from other states to Maharashtra.

Bhushan has asked the state government to modify its order and give it wide publicity. Meanwhile, Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope has clarified that '‘A fully-vaccinated local domestic passenger can travel without RT-PCR."

‘’The state government has issued fresh guidelines akin to those of the central government. A local/domestic traveller, if fully vaccinated, will be able to travel. There is then no need for RTPCR testing. The travel details of passengers arriving from 'at risk countries will be checked. The RTPCR testing and 7-day isolation will be mandatory. After that, if their test is negative, they can go to work,’’ said Tope.

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