The Indian government has labelled 11 countries as 'at risk' from the highly virulent variant of the COVID-19 virus, Omicron, which include the UK and all European countries, and others like South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Hong Kong, Israel, Mauritius, New Zealand, Singapore, and Zimbabwe, civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said yesterday.
Responding to a query at the Lok Sabha, Scindia said that passengers coming in from 'at risk' countries will be placed under restrictions, which include undergoing mandatorily testing, and a 15-day quarantine period.
Such passengers will be required to undergo a seven-day home quarantine, followed by testing on the eight day and monitoring for another seven days, Scindia added.
"We have been preparing for this on a war footing. We have started doing the checking from yesterday (Wednesday). We expect about 8,500 people to come in from the 11 countries labelled as 'at risk' at about 11 Indian airports and we are prepared with the testing procedures for both RT-PCR and Rapid tests (at these airports)," Scindia said.
"About 5,500 people were tested across 26 airports yesterday," Scindia added.
The Indian government had on Wednesday rolled back plans to resume scheduled international flight operations from 15 December, five days after making the announcement, following the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus mutant.
"In the view of the evolving global scenario with the emergence of new variants of concern, the situation is being watched closely in consultation with all stakeholders and an appropriate decision indicating the effective date of resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services will be notified in due course," civil aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which falls under the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) said in a notification.
International flights will continue under air bubble agreements, till further notification, said a senior DGCA official, who spoke under the condition of anonymity.