The Center on Thursday called on all states and union territories to conduct rigorous screening and testing of all international travelers coming to or transiting through South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana, where a new Covid-19 variant of serious public health implications.
In a letter addressed to the Chief Secretary / Chief Secretary / Additional Secretary (Health) of all union states and territories, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan asked them to ensure that samples from travelers who test positive are promptly forwarded to designated genome sequencing laboratories.
The National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has now reported that multiple cases of a variant of Covid-19 B.1.1529 have been reported in Botswana (3 cases), South Africa (6 cases) and Honk Kong (1 case). Bhushan said in the letter.
“This variant is reported to have a significantly high number of mutations and therefore has serious public health implications for the country, in light of the recently relaxed visa restrictions and the opening of international travel.”
“Therefore, it is imperative that all international travelers traveling to and from these countries (they are part of the category of ‘at risk’ countries of international travelers coming to India) and that they also include all The other countries at risk indicated in the Revised Guidelines for International Arrivals issued by this Ministry on November 11, 2021 are subject to rigorous controls and tests, in accordance with the MoHFW guidelines, “said Bhushan.
The contacts of these international travelers should also be closely monitored and tested per MoHFW guidelines.