'Rigorous Screening of Travellers': Centre Sounds Alert Over New COVID Variant

The Health Ministry called for the screening of travellers from South Africa, Hong Kong, and Botswana.

1 min read
Coronavirus variants. Image used for representational purposes.

The Union Ministry of Health on Thursday, 25 November, issued an alert for the rigorous screening of travellers entering the country from South Africa, Hong Kong, and Botswana, where a new COVID-19 variant has been detected.

In a letter addressed to the states and the Union territories, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan stated:

"lt has now been reported by NCDC (National Centre for Disease Control) that multiple cases of a COVID-19 variant 8.1.1529 have been reported in Botswana (3 cases), South Africa (6 cases) and Honk Kong (1 case). This variant is reported to have a significantly high number of mutations, and thus, has serious public health implications for the country, in view of recently relaxed visa restrictions and opening up of international travel."

"lt is therefore imperative that all international travellers travelling from and transiting through these countries, (they are part of the 'at risk' Country Category of international travellers coming to India) and also including all other 'at risk' countries indicated in the revised guidelines for international arrivals issued by this Ministry dated 11.11.2021, are subjected to rigorous screening and testing, as per MoHFW guidelines. The contacts of these international travellers must also be closely tracked and tested as per MoHFW guidelines."
The Health Ministry Letter

Officials of the World Health Organization (WHO) held a meeting on Thursday to discuss a new coronavirus variant.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, South Africa has currently detected 22 cases of the variant.

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