Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Through a fresh order, the Union Health Ministry has made institutional quarantine mandatory for evacuees from Afghanistan who are coming to India following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. 

The order, issued on Monday, said the health ministry has already allowed exemption from mandatory pre-boarding RTPCR testing, which is a requirement for all international travelers coming to India. 

However, said the government, the Covid immunisation status of the evacuees is unknown and the exact extent of Covid transmission including circulation of variants in Afghanistan is also unclear at present. 

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“ a matter of abundant precaution, it has been decided that the arriving persons shall undergo a mandatory minimum 14 days’ institutional quarantine” at the ITBP  Chhawla camp in the national capital, said the ministry order. 

On Tuesday, 78 passengers from Afghanistan, including 25 Indian citizens arrived in Delhi today via Tajikistan’s Dushanbe. Earlier, Indian authorities on Monday had evacuated 75 Sikhs amid the deteriorating situation in war-torn Afghanistan.

So far, nearly 400 individuals from Kabul have been evacuated that covered Indian citizens as well as Afghan nationals including Sikhs and Hindus from there. 

On Tuesday, there were reports that three of the evacuees had tested positive for Covid19 upon arrival, two of them—though with only minor symptoms—had been admitted to a government hospital.