Hyderabad: New guidelines to screen international arrivals from at-risk countries, where the new variant of SARS-CoV-2, Omicron, has been reported, has come into force at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Shamshabad, from Tuesday midnight.
Adequate manpower, including senior doctors, and infrastructure have been arranged by the State government to implement the new guidelines, which involves conducting RT-PCR tests for passengers arriving from at-risk countries, at the international airport.
International arrivals from entire Europe, including the UK, and South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel will undergo RT-PCR tests and wait at the airport for the results to be released by the State Health Department.
Those testing positive will be taken to the designated Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS), Gachibowli, for isolation and treatment. At TIMS, they will be provided treatment in separate wards and will not be allowed to mingle with other Covid-19 positive patients.
Travellers from at-risk countries who test negative in the RT-PCR tests will be asked to remain in home quarantine for 14-days.
“On the eighth day of their quarantine, our teams will physically visit homes of these individuals and conduct RT-PCR tests. If they test negative, they will self-monitor their health for another seven days and if they test positive, they will be shifted to TIMS,” said Director of Public Health (DPH) Dr G Srinivasa Rao.
The testing and treatment protocols for Covid-19 patients who test positive for Omicron or Delta are not much different. “The same rapid tests that are being used to diagnose the Delta variant can be used for Omicron. There is not much change even in the treatment protocols. We will receive fresh treatment protocols as and when it is necessary from MoHFW,” he said.
In the last 24 hours, surveillance teams at Shamshabad airport have screened and tested 41 international passengers, who arrived from the at-risk countries, and none of them have tested positive. Of the 41 international passengers, 22 were from Europe, 17 from UK and two from Singapore. The passengers will remain in home quarantine before undergoing another RT-PCR test on the eighth day.
“Samples of all passengers from at-risk countries who test positive will undergo genome sequencing at CCMB, CDFD and Gandhi Hospital. These three are the designated genome sequencing labs in Telangana. The genetic laboratories will share the sequencing results of passengers directly with MoHFW,” Dr Rao added.
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