New Delhi: The government on Sunday issued a fresh Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) for the return of Indians stranded abroad due to the coronavirus lockdown, saying it will be a paid service and preference will be given to people in distress including those who have lost their jobs and pregnant women.
A similar SOP was also issued by the government for those who are stranded in India and desire to travel abroad.
As per the latest SOP, all travellers will have to give an undertaking that they would undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days. It will be a seven-day paid institutional quarantine at their own cost followed by seven days of isolation at home with self-monitoring of health.
Only for exceptional and compelling reasons such as cases of human distress, pregnancy, death in family, serious illness and parent(s) accompanied by children below ten years, as assessed by the receiving states, home quarantine may be permitted for 14 days and use of ‘Aarogya Setu’ app shall be mandatory in such cases, it said.
According to the SOP issued earlier by the Home Ministry on May 5, the institutional quarantine period was 14 days and another 14 days was for home quarantine while ‘Aarogya Setu’ app was mandatory for all international arrivals.
The fresh SOP said that the states and UTs can also develop their own protocol with regards to quarantine and isolation as per their assessment.
The government is currently undertaking a special operation under the name of ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ to bring back stranded Indians from more than 40 countries.
According to the fresh SOP, issued by the Union Home Ministry, those who wish to return to India will have to register themselves with the Indian missions in that country, along with necessary details as prescribed by the Ministry of External Affairs.
Priority will be given to compelling cases in distress, including migrant workers, labourers who have been laid off, short-term visa-holders facing expiry of visas, persons with medical emergency, pregnant women, elderly, those required to return to India due to death of family member, and students, the SOP said. The cost of travel, as specified by the carrier, will be borne by such travellers, it said.
All those who will arrive from abroad will have to follow the guidelines for quarantine arrangements issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), the SOP said.
As per the Health Ministry guidelines, on arrival, thermal screening would be carried out in respect of all the passengers by the health officials present at the airport, seaport and land port.
The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to medical facility as per health protocol. The remaining passengers shall be taken to suitable institutional quarantine facilities, to be arranged by the respective state and UT governments. These passengers shall be kept under institutional quarantine for a minimum period of seven days. They shall be tested as per ICMR protocol. If they test positive, they shall be assessed clinically.
If they are assessed as mild cases, they will be allowed home isolation or isolated in the COVID care centre (both public and private facilities) as appropriate. Those having moderate or severe symptoms will be admitted to dedicated COVID health facilities and managed accordingly. If found negative, they shall be advised to further isolate themselves at home and self-monitor their health for seven days. In case, any symptoms develop they shall inform the district surveillance officer or the state/national call center (1075).
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Source:: The Navhind Times