Omicron threat: Maharashtra categorises RSA, Botswana and Zimbabwe as 'high-risk’ countries in revised SOPs

The 'ultra-risk' nations are South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lasotho, Zimbabwe and Eswatini

FP Staff December 02, 2021 16:06:33 IST
Omicron threat: Maharashtra categorises RSA, Botswana and Zimbabwe as 'high-risk’ countries in revised SOPs

Arriving passengers leave a terminal at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai. AFP

After its stand-off with the Centre over its divergence on the issue of guidelines for international flyers amid the Omicron scare, the Maharashtra government has revised its standard operating procedure.

As per ANI, in the case of domestic air travel, passengers will either have to be fully vaccinated or compulsorily carry RT-PCR Test certificate showing negative result within 72 hours before boarding.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led government has categorised South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe as 'high risk countries'. This is is a dynamic exercise based on the evolving situation of Omicron variant and hence will be updated as required, the government said in its guidelines.

The government had earlier made institutional quarantine mandatory for passengers arriving from all 'at risk' countries.

On Wednesday, the Centre had sent a letter to the Maharashtra government stating that their guidelines were in divergence with the COVID-19 SoPs and guidelines issued by Union Health Ministry for international passengers.

 “I would, therefore, urge you to align the orders issued by the state with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health, Government of India, so that uniform implementation of the guidelines may be ensured across all states and UTs. I would also advise that such modified orders of the state government are given wide publicity to obviate any inconvenience to travellers,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had written in the letter addressed to Pradeep Kumar Vyas, Additional Chief Secretary of the state’s department of health & family welfare.

Explaining the change in rules, Aaditya Thackeray, a state minister, had told NDTV, “We were hit first, we were hit the hardest and we were always accountable and transparent... so we need to be a little cautious about our state… People's safety is top priority.”

Meanwhile, Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar informed that four passengers who came from South Africa to Mumbai have tested COVID-19 positive. She also said that the samples have been sent for genome sequencing.

According to a report in The Indian Express, the four patients have been shifted to Seven Hills hospital in the western suburbs of Mumbai.

With inputs from agencies

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