India likely to make Air Suvidha forms, RT-PCR tests mandatory for int'l passengers from next week

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COVID test at Delhi airport. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Filling Air Suvidha forms and having RT-PCR test reports 72 hours prior to departure are likely to be made mandatory next week for all international passengers from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Singapore, said Union Health Ministry sources on Wednesday.

Further, according to sources in the Union Health ministry, the next 40 days will be crucial as India may see a surge in Covid cases in mid-January.

The sources further added that the assessment was made after analysing the previous trends of the Covid surge in the country.

Amid the explosion in Covid cases in some countries, the operational readiness of healthcare facilities is under review in all states and Union Territories in anticipation of another wave.

Two passengers from Dubai tested positive for Covid at the Chennai airport on Wednesday.

"Two passengers, who arrived from Dubai, tested positive at the Chennai airport today. Both of hail from the Alangudi district of Tamil Nadu's Pudukkottai. Their test samples have been sent to the State Public Health Laboratory," read a statement issued by the Tamil Nadu Health department on Wednesday.

At least 39 international fliers tested positive for Covid between December 24 and 26. Taking due cognisance of the global surge in cases, including China, the Centre had directed random testing of international passengers.

"Passengers of as many as 498 international flights were screened in the last three days -- December 24, 25 and 26. A total of 1,780 swab samples were collected for Covid tests. The cumulative number of samples collected (from international fliers), so far, is 3,994. The cumulative number of samples testing positive for Covid is 39 and of samples sent for whole genome sequencing is 39," a source told ANI on Tuesday.

In light of the Covid surge in several countries, hospitals across the country on Tuesday conducted mock drills to assess their pandemic preparedness. The same was done in compliance with a directive issued by the Centre.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya personally oversaw one such mock dirll at Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital.

"To make sure that there is no Covid surge in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked us to be careful. The government is also making necessary preparations in anticipation of a rise in Covid infections. Today, mock drills are being conducted across Covid hospitals in the country to make sure people receive proper treatment in the eent of a rise in cases," Mandaviya told reporters at Safdarjung Hospital on Tuesday.


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