Karnataka’s Minister of Health and Medical Education Dr K Sudhakar on Wednesday said that in view of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, passengers arriving from foreign nations in the state will have to undergo a mandatory RT-PCR test at the airport from today, December 1.
Passengers may face some delay because testing is mandatory, but it is inevitable, the minister said.
Dr Sudhakar said the state government has held talks with hospitals and medical colleges. The health department has already convened a meeting with district officials to suggest measures to be taken in this regard, he said.
Read | Omicron: Delhi tightens Covid rules for passengers from ‘high-risk’ countries | Details here
Dr Sudhakar listed the guidelines to be followed by international passengers arriving in the state. The guidelines are as follows:
– If the RT-PCR test report at the airport comes negative, travellers can go home. However, they will need to quarantine for seven days. Their health will be monitored during the quarantine period.
– If the RT-PCR test report comes positive, they will be hospitalised and treated.
– If Omicron variant is detected in any passenger, he/she will be treated in special isolation wards at hospitals.
Talks on with Centre on booster doses
Dr Sudhakar said Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is going to meet Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya in Delhi to discuss giving booster doses of Covid-19 vaccines to healthcare staff and other frontline workers.
“On December 2 or 3, our Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai will meet the Union Health Minister in Delhi and discuss the booster dose for our Health Department staff and frontline workers. The advantages and other factors regarding administering booster doses will also be discussed,” Dr Sudhakar said.
“Tele-medicine, increasing the number of tests, wearing the mask mandatorily and other safety guidelines will be strictly enforced. If the public cooperates with the government, we can quickly be overcome with fear. Awareness and vigilance are a must to overcome Omicron,” Dr Sudhakar added.
Dr Sudhakar said the Covid Technical Advisory Committee has advised the government to stop facilities and penalise those who haven’t taken two doses of the vaccine. But the government has no intention to do this, he said.
“Instead, people who are not vaccinated will be sensitised and vaccinated. The number of people taking the vaccine has been increasing over the past two days. The house-to-house vaccine mitra program is picking up,” the minister said.
Dr Sudhakar also said that it is not very clear how Omicron will impact children. “But we know that it is a very fast-spreading virus. The central government is also contemplating the vaccine for children. The vaccine is expected to be available in all states at the earliest,” he said.