New Delhi, February 10
Foreign passengers arriving in India from February 14 will not have to quarantine at home for seven days, the Health Ministry said today in its revised guidelines as the Covid pandemic contracted further.
The new guidelines require arriving foreigners to self-monitor their health for 14 days. They would no longer have to take an RTPCR test on the eighth day of arrival or download the report. This arrangement will be followed with countries that recognize Covid vaccines administered in India. The demarcation of risk and non-risk countries has been removed, meaning that no passengers from previously designated risk countries would have to give samples on arrival or wait for results to leave the airport.
Although India has reported less than 1 lakh cases for four days (67,084 cases in the past 24 hours), Himachal is among the few states of concern with a weekly positivity rate above 10%. India, however, continue with a random sampling of 2 percent of international arrivals. “Travelers can give samples and leave the airport. Random sampling will help us detect any potential variants of concern in the future,” said Ministry of Health spokesperson Lav Agarwal. Overall, the government today reported mixed signals on the pandemic front. Daily positivity fell to 4.4% and active cases to 7.90,789 from 22.49 lakh on January 24. Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka now have 61% of all active cases.
Member, Health, NITI Aayog VK Paul however said, “There is a mixed picture of optimism and caution.
Kerala has an extremely high weekly positivity of 29.5%. Mizoram has a rate of 26.5, Sikkim 17, Arunachal 12 and Himachal 11.79%. Nearly 39 districts are seeing an increase in weekly cases and 200 districts have a positivity of 10% or more. “We’re moving towards improvement, but we can’t let our guard down,” Paul said.
Himachal, with 60% coverage, has taken the initiative to vaccinate beneficiaries in the age group of 15-18 years.