Delhi minister blames international flights for COVID surge

Travellers are testing negative at airport and getting COVID later, Satyendar Jain says

Republic Day, no flights, Airport Authority of India, AAI, airspace shutdown
According to Union health ministry guidelines, travellers from ‘at-risk’ countries who test negative for coronavirus at the airport have to home quarantine for seven days | File Photo: PTI

There have been several cases of international travellers testing negative for COVID-19 upon arrival at the airport and later getting infected with the disease, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Wednesday.

Jain blamed international flights for the surge in daily COVID-19 cases in the city. “Even during the earlier waves, the cases rose with the flights coming in,” he said.

According to Union health ministry guidelines, travellers from ‘at-risk’ countries who test negative for coronavirus at the airport have to home quarantine for seven days.

On the eighth day, they are tested again and if the result is again negative, they are required to self-monitor their health for the next seven days.

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For those arriving from nations not identified as ‘at-risk’, a random 2 per cent must take the RT-PCR test at the airport. If the result is negative, they are required to self-monitor their health for at least 14 days.

In both cases, if travellers test positive at any time, their samples are sent for genome sequencing. These patients are managed at a separate isolation facility and “treated as per laid down standard protocol, including contact tracing”.

Their contacts are also kept under institutional quarantine or at home isolation, and their health is monitored by the state authorities.

Jain’s statements came a day after Delhi recorded the biggest jump in single-day COVID-19 cases since June 4 with 496 infections and yet another death.

Meanwhile, the capital’s Omicron tally on Wednesday climbed to 238, thereby making it the worst-hit state in India.

Jain said the Delhi government is prepared to tackle the crisis. “Till now, what we have seen is that patients are not requiring oxygen for treatment and are getting cured easily,” he said.

Delhi on Tuesday imposed a ‘yellow alert’ in view of the coronavirus situation. This includes closing schools and colleges, cinemas and gyms. The authorities have also imposed a 10pm to 5am curfew.

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