Telangana state to ramp up testing, tracking of travellers from South Africa
Visitors from States like Karnataka, Maharashtra and Delhi are also likely to be subjected to compulsory RT-PCR test and would be quarantined
Hyderabad: Testing and tracing of all those who arrive from South Africa is likely to be made compulsory. All passengers coming from South Africa and states like Karnataka, Maharashtra and Delhi are also likely to be subjected to compulsory RT-PCR test and would be quarantined.
A decision to this effect will be taken on Sunday when Health Minister T Harish Rao would hold a review meeting with officials. Restrictions on people coming from neighbouring States is likely because there are no direct flights from South Africa and those coming to Hyderabad come via neighbouring States. Sources said that such measures had become necessary as the threat of the new variant of Covid-19 known as Omicron was looming large. In the Netherlands, nearly 61 passengers from South Africa tested positive and were sent to quarantine. The State is slowly getting back on track and hence some tough measures are necessary to prevent any spread of Covid-19, officials said.
Since people had lowered the guard in the recent past, the government is likely to reiterate the need to strictly follow the health protocols like compulsory use of masks, maintain social distance and enforce restrictions on social gatherings.
The Maharashtra government has already taken steps like allowing people only with two doses of vaccine and RT-PCR test report taken up 72 hours prior to the visit to permit them to enter the State. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also cautioned people to be alert. Meanwhile, South African Health Minister Joe Phaahla reacted saying that the restrictions by various countries were "unjustified". He said instead of working collaboratively to address the situation as guided by WHO, other nations were putting the blame on South Africa. He said preliminary studies suggest the variant may be more transmissible due to its genetic composition but noted that vaccines are still effective in preventing severe Covid-19 from the variant.