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'Omicron' Concerns: Govt to Review Decision on Restarting International Flights

Genomic surveillance for COVID variants will also be further strengthened and intensified, as per the MHA.

Published
COVID-19
2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>The union government is slated to review its decision on resuming scheduled commercial international passenger services, according to the official Twitter handle of Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).</p></div>
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The union government is slated to review its decision on resuming scheduled commercial international passenger services, according to the official Twitter handle of Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

As per the decisions taken on Sunday, 28 November, at an urgent meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, the government is also slated to review the standard operating procedures on testing and surveillance of incoming passengers, especially from countries identified as 'at risk’.

This comes amid the emergence of the new coronavirus variant of concern, Omicron.

MORE DETAILS

Further, the spokesperson tweeted:

  • Genomic surveillance for variants to be further strengthened and intensified

  • Airport Health Officials (APHOs) and Port Health Officials (PHOs) to be sensitized for strict supervision of testing protocol at airports/ports

  • Close watch on emerging pandemic situation within the country will be maintained

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BACKGROUND

The Aviation Ministry had previously said that India is slated to resume its scheduled international flights from 15 December.

This had come after a spell of coronavirus-induced suspension. Scheduled international flights were suspended in India following the coronavirus outbreak in March 2020.

COVID CONCERNS & THE OMICRON VARIANT

In the 83rd episode of his ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Sunday, 28 November, warned that that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet. Urging the people to remain vigilant, PM Modi said:

“Never forget that corona (coronavirus) has not gone yet. It is our responsibility to take all precautions.”

PM Modi’s warning comes at the heels of a new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, which was first reported in South Africa, but has since been found in several other parts of the world, as well.

PM Modi chaired a high-level meeting on the prevailing COVID-19 situation on Saturday. In the meeting, he was briefed about the global trends in COVID-19 infections and trends, and also apprised of the new variant Omicron and its impact.

PM said that in light of the new threat, people need to be more cautious and take proper precautions like masking and social distancing.

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