The Health Ministry on Wednesday asked Maharashtra Government to align with the travel guidelines issued by the Centre Govt in the wake of the new coronavirus variant Omicron.
The Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, in a letter sent to govt of Maharashtra, calls for uniform implementation of guidelines across all the states and union territories.
The Health Secretary’s letter has identified four points from the Maharashtra government’s guidelines, which were issued on November 30. These are:
- Mandatory RT-PCR testing of all international travelers at the Mumbai airport, irrespective of country of origin.
- Mandatory 14-day home quarantine for all international passengers, despite being tested RT-PCR negative upon arrival.
- Mandatory RT-PCR test for passengers planning to undertake connecting flights after disembarking at Mumbai and further travel subject to a negative RT-PCR result.
- Requirement of negative RT-PCR test 48 hours prior to date of journey, for domestic passengers travelling from other states to Maharashtra.
In the letter sent to Maharashtra’s additional chief secretary, Bhushan advised that such modified orders of the state government are given wide publicity to obviate any inconvenience to travelers.
Unlike Maharashtra, the guidelines issued by the Centre are meant only for “At-Risk” countries.
The Maharashtra government had announced these guidelines on Tuesday and said they will come into effect immediately in order to restrict the transmission of the said virus variant into the state.
The order copy read, “The restrictions imposed by the Government of India guidelines dated 28th November 2021 as well as future restrictions, if any, shall act as minimum restrictions to be imposed.”
But on Wednesday, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said that a window of two days shall be granted to all passengers from “At-Risk” countries since many fliers will have already finalised their plans of travel, maybe on the move, or might even be airborne, and unaware of these guidelines. These revised guidelines will now come into effect from December 2, at 11.59 pm.
The BMC has also directed the Mumbai airport operators to communicate to all domestic airlines not to allow any passengers landing in Mumbai, to board flights without a negative RT-PCR report taken within 72 hours of travel.
It said that testing may be allowed at the airport on arrival only in exceptional cases.
Apart from the above-mentioned points, the Maharashtra government has also asked DCP immigration and Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) to draft a proforma of declaration for all arriving passengers on international flights to declare details of the countries visited in the last 15 days.
The authorities at Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) have been asked to share the proformas with all airlines and the information regarding travel in the last 15 days will be cross-checked by immigration on arrival. Incorrect information furnished by the passengers will lead to action under relevant sections of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the state government said in its order.