Mandatory institutional quarantine for passengers from UK, Europe and Middle East
Geetanjali Minhas | December 22, 2020 | Mumbai
As a new strain of the Novel Coronavirus, several times more contagious, has started spreading rapidly in the UK, India wasted no time in responding to the threat, as it suspended the flights from that country till the yearend. Maharashtra, among the most affected states, too has taken a slew of precautionary measures and re-imposed night curfew. Mumbai city too has made institutional quarantine mandatory for passengers from UK, Europe and Middle East.
The curfew, from 11 pm to 6 am, in urban areas of the state starts from Tuesday. On Sunday, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said wearing the mask was mandatory for next six months in the state.
With the distinct phylogenetic cluster of SARs-CoV-2 (called lineage 22.214.171.124) having being detected and spreading rapidly in the UK, India has suspended all flights originating there from the midnight of December 22 till the midnight of December 31.
Issuing directives under the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 and The Disaster Management Act 2005, the municipal corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) on Tuesday issued guidelines for all international passengers arriving from the UK directly or through indirect flights and those arriving from Middle East and European countries at Mumbai International Airport. These passengers will have to undergo mandatory institutional quarantine at their own cost in the nearby hotels for seven days.
As per the guidelines issued by municipal commissioner, Iqbal Singh Chahal, if passengers arriving from the UK are found symptomatic on arrival, they will be directly shifted to the Seven Hills Hospital for further evaluation and treatment. Those arriving from Middle East and European countries, if found symptomatic, will be directly shifted to GT Hospital, Fort, for evaluation and treatment.
While no RT-PCR test will be conducted on arrival of passengers from the UK, Europe and Middle East, between day 5 and day 7, these passengers will have to go through an RT-PCR test at the hotel at their own cost. If the test report is found negative, the passenger will be discharged from the institutional quarantine but will have to be under mandatory home quarantine for seven days.
Those testing positive and symptomatic will continue to be under quarantine in the same hotel or in a Covid-19 Hospital for 14 days. Private laboratories are being linked to quarantine hotels for testing of arriving passengers. The collector of Mumbai Suburban district will be in charge of monitoring of operations and accordingly depute suitable teams.
All passengers will be required to deposit their passports with the hotel during the quarantine period and will receive the same back at the time of discharge. BEST will transport all passengers coming from the UK by direct or indirect flights to hotels. PPE kits are being provided to Mumbai airport employees and immigration officers.
An estimated 800 rooms have been set aside from Monday for passengers arriving from the UK and almost 4,000 rooms on a daily basis will be needed for those arriving from Middle East and Europe. The charges will be borne by the passengers.
“Irrespective of their further plans government guidelines will have to be followed by all passengers arriving at Mumbai International Airport from UK, Europe and the Middle East,” says the order.
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