MUMBAI: Maharashtra Chief Secretary Debashish Chakravarty on Thursday said the state government was considering a revision of its air travel guidelines, a day after the Centre wrote to the state saying its order was in divergence with the COVID-19 SoPs and guidelines issued by the Union government.
In view of global concerns over the Omicron variant, Maharashtra has mandated seven-day institutional quarantine for travellers arriving in the state from ‘at-risk’ countries, under the guidelines issued by the State Disaster Management Authority on Tuesday night.
Such passengers will also undergo RT-PCR test on the second, fourth and seventh day of arrival.
If found to be COVID-19 positive, the passenger will be shifted to a hospital.
In case the test is negative, the passenger will still have to undergo seven-day home quarantine.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Wednesday, in a letter addressed to Maharashtra Health and Family Welfare Department’s Additional Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar Vyas, asked the state to align its order with the SOPs issued by the Centre.
When contacted, state Chief Secretary Chakravarty said, “The revision of guidelines is being considered and the picture will be clear by this evening.”
Under the new guidelines issued by the Union Health Ministry on November 28, passengers originating or transiting from at-risk countries will have to undergo RT-PCR testing post-arrival and will be required to wait for the results at the airport before leaving or taking a connecting flight.
Travellers from countries excluding those countries at risk will be allowed to leave the airport and shall self-monitor their health for 14 days post-arrival but five percent of the total flight passengers shall undergo post-arrival testing at random at the airport on arrival.
However, according to the Maharashtra government guidelines, passengers from other than ‘at-risk’ countries will have to undergo a compulsory RT-PCR test at the airport.
Even if found negative, they will have to undergo 14-day home quarantine.
On Wednesday, the Mumbai civic body mandated all domestic passengers landing at the city airport to carry a negative RT-PCR report not older than 72 hours.
In a circular, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) asked the Mumbai airport operator to communicate this new rule to all the domestic airlines.