RT-PCR, Isolation & More: What Does Govt SOP for UK Arrivals Say?

SOP For UK Arrivals: Here’s all you need to know about the new SOPs issued by the Indian government.

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Travellers arriving from the United Kingdom and those who have landed in India from the country in the recent past have to follow a separate set of SOPs, as released by the Health Ministry on Tuesday, 22 December. This comes amid fears over the new variant of COVID-19 virus detected in the Britain.

The government has included in the SOP's purview all international passengers who have travelled from or transited through the UK in the past four weeks – from 23 November to 23 December.

Here’s all you need to know about the new SOPs issued by the government.

What should be done on arrival in India?

  • To begin with, all international travellers are required to declare their travel history of the past 14 days and must fill up the self-declaration form.
  • It is mandatory for all passengers to get the RT-PCR test done on arrival in India from the UK.
  • Passengers testing positive will be isolated in a separate unit, which will be set up by state health authorities.
  • Their samples will then be sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, for genomic sequencing, which will reveal the variant.

What happens when the genomic results are out?

  • If the report of the sequencing is consistent with the current SARS-CoV-2 virus genome circulating in the country, the ongoing treatment protocol – including home isolation/treatment at facility level – as per case severity may be followed.
  • If the genomic sequencing indicates the presence of a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, then the patient will continue to remain in a separate isolation unit. While necessary treatment as per the existing protocol will be given, the patient shall be tested on the 14th day, after having tested positive in the initial test.
  • In case the sample is found positive on the 14th day, further samples may be taken until his two consecutive samples taken 24 hours apart are negative.

So basically, a genomic testing will be done for all passengers from the UK who test positive?

Yes, this is correct. All contacts (without any exception) of those travellers who arrived at various airports on 21-23rd December 2020 and tested positive would be subjected to institutional quarantine at separate quarantine centres and would be tested as per ICMR guidelines .

The mandatory RT-PCR test is also applicable for passengers taking a transit flight from UK.

What happens if I test negative in RT-PCR on arrival?

Those who are found negative on testing with RT-PCR at the airport would be advised quarantine at home for at least seven days.

The list of travellers (travelling between 21-23rd December) who are found RT-PCR negative at the airport at the time of testing will be shared with the respective states. They will be advised for quarantine at home and tested as per ICMR guidelines (or earlier if the passenger develops any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19).

What about travellers who arrived from the UK before 21 December?

  • International travellers from the UK who arrived in India between 25 November and 8 December 2020 will be contacted by District Surveillance Officers and advised to self-monitor their health.
  • If anyone among them develops symptoms, they will be tested by the RT-PCR method.

Is there an SOP for travellers who arrived in UK over the last 14 days?

Yes, those who arrived in the last 14 days will be closely monitored by the state health authorities.

  • You will also receive daily calls/visits by state health officials to inquire about your health status and you are requested to cooperate with them.
  • You are requested to self-monitor you health for development of symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
  • In case you develop symptoms (fever, cough, and/or difficulty in breathing), put on a mask immediately, isolate yourself at home, and inform District Surveillance Officer or contact national (1075) or the state helplines.

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