New Delhi: People who have flown into Delhi from the UK over the past fortnight, and those landing between Tuesday and Wednesday — before India’s travel suspension for the country kicks in — will be mandatorily quarantined as the national capital raises its guard against a new Covid strain stoking panic around the world.
Officials of Delhi’s 11 districts have been instructed by the Union Territory’s health department to constitute teams to monitor the exercise, ThePrint has learnt. Those flying in Tuesday and Wednesday will face mandatory institutional quarantine, while the rest will be subject to home isolation.
The steps are being taken to identify possible carriers of the new strain of the novel coronavirus that has been identified in the UK. India is one of over 40 countries that have suspended travel from the UK to halt the transmission of the new strain, which is believed to be more infectious.
The Union government announced Monday that it was temporarily suspending flights from the UK from Tuesday midnight till 31 December.
A senior official of the Delhi health department said 4,350 people have arrived from the UK over the past two weeks, of whom nearly 1,250 are believed to be from the capital or residing here. For the rest, the official added, the Delhi international airport was a transit point.
Chestha Yadav, the district magistrate for Northwest Delhi, said district authorities are sifting through the list of 1,250 passengers to identify those in their jurisdiction. Accordingly, the administration in each district will send teams to the homes of the travellers to ensure they are put under home isolation.
“On the sixth day of home isolation, they will take the RT-PCR test,” Yadav added.
According to health department sources, district officials were Tuesday instructed to focus on tracing the contacts of these passengers. They said Delhi’s health department will also communicate with governments of different states where the remaining 3,100 passengers travelled.
Additionally, those arriving on UK-Delhi flights between Tuesday and Wednesday will be mandatorily tested at the airport and put under institutional quarantine before they are sent home.
“There is an option to take paid or unpaid institutional quarantine. If one tests positive after landing, then the person will be in quarantine for 14 days, and if one tests negative, then the quarantine period is seven days,” Shahdara district magistrate Sanjeev Kumar said.
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Six passengers aboard a London-Delhi flight that landed Monday night have tested positive for Covid-19. Their samples have been sent for testing. The new coronavirus strain has so far not been detected in India.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain told the media Monday that the government is on alert to detect the new strain. “Delhi government is on alert in the wake of the mutated coronavirus strain in the UK. The situation is being closely monitored and mandatory tests at the airport are being conducted,” he said.
Delhi recorded 803 fresh Covid-19 cases Monday, the lowest since 17 August, with the number of active cases dropping below the 10,000-mark. The city’s cumulative Covid-19 case tally stands at 6,17,808, according to the latest health bulletin issued Monday.
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