International flights not to resume; SII seeks nod for booster dose

International flights not to resume; SII seeks nod for booster dose

Temporary Covid workers protest on being sacked in Ahmedabad. PTI

Mukesh Ranjan

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 1

The government today said it had decided not to resume scheduled international flights from December 15 and indicated that a new date for this would be notified later after assessing the global Covid situation.

The decision came in the wake of rising concerns over new Covid variant Omicron even as the Serum Institute of India (SII) sought approval from the drug regulator for Covishield as a booster dose. The SII cited adequate stock of the vaccine in the country and a demand for a booster shot due to the emergence of new variants, official sources said. In an application to the Drugs Controller General of India, the SII cited that the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency had already approved the booster dose of AstraZeneca ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine, they said.

ICMR norms for FOREIGN ARRIVALS

  • No post-arrival testing if flier not from ‘at risk’ nation
  • Mandatory testing for fliers having visited ‘at risk’ nation in last 14 days
  • Random testing for some fliers from ‘at risk’ nations
  • Such travellers can leave airport after giving sample

The Centre had a week ago announced resumption of international flights, suspended in March last year after Covid outbreak. The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said the date for resuming commercial international passenger services “will be notified in due course”. PM Narendra Modi had on November 27 asked officials to review the plans for easing international travel restriction. Currently, international passenger flights are being operated under bilateral air bubble arrangements with various countries in a restricted manner. As of November 24, India had formalised air bubble arrangements with 31 countries.

While no Omicron case has been reported in India so far, the authorities have put in place stricter curbs for inbound foreign travellers. An official at the IGI Airport said those arriving after a long flight showed reluctance to wait for another five hours for test results and opted for Rapid PCR test to leave for their destination at the earliest.

Six inbound fliers test +ve for covid

Six international passengers arriving from ‘at risk’ nations amid Omicron fears tested positive for Covid on the first day of the new travel guidelines for foreign arrivals

At risk nations

UK, S Africa, Brazil, B’desh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel

Align your rules with ours: Centre to Maha

After Maharashtra revised guidelines on quarantine for international passengers amid Omicron fears, the Centre asked it to align its order with the SOPs issued by Union Health Ministry

80% take Rapid PCR test at IGI airport

792 of 1,013 inbound fliers at IGI Airport on Wednesday opted for Rapid PCR test

Rs 3,900 cost of Rapid PCR test; report in 1 hour

Rs 500 rate of RTPCR test; report in 5 to 6 hours

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