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Passengers from China would need -ve RT-PCR tests

New Delhi: In view of the fresh global Covid-19 situation, the Union government might make it mandatory for travellers from China and five other countries to have negative RT-PCR reports in possession from the coming week, PTI informed, citing sources.

Expecting a pandemic surge in the country in January, the sources warned that the next 40 days are crucial.

The Union Health Ministry sources said that though there could be a wave, death and hospitalisations are expected to be very low.

An official said, "Previously, it has been noticed that a new wave of COVID-19 hits India around 30-35 days after it hits East Asia.... This has been a trend."

The government might make it mandatory to fill up 'air suvidha' forms and 72-hour prior to RT-PCR testing from next week for passengers from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore.

So far, 39 international passengers have been found positive for COVID-19 out of the 6,000 tested on arrival in the last two days.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will visit the airport in Delhi on Thursday to take stock of testing and screening facilities there, they said.

They further said that Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya is planning to visit the Delhi airport on Thursday to take stock of testing facilities there. The proposed tightening of Covid guidelines and warning of a fresh surge comes days after Health Minister Mandaviya asked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to consider suspending the Bharat Jodo Yatra if COVID-19 protocols could not be followed.

After the reported surge in positive Covid cases from multiple countries, the government has issued an alert to states and Union territories, asking them to brace for a possible pandemic impact. It had made random coronavirus testing mandatory for two per cent of passengers arriving on each international flight from Saturday.

High-level meetings were convened by both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Health Minister Mandaviya. Mock drills were held at health facilities across India on Tuesday to check operational readiness to deal with any spurt in COVID-19 infection.

The latest strain of the pandemic virus in circulation is the Omicron sub-variant BF.7, a severely contagious strain which could make one infected person infect 16 others.

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