The Delhi government on Friday tightened the Covid-19 protocol for passengers arriving from the United Kingdom (UK) at Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport by ordering mandatory institutional quarantine, even for those who test negative for the disease.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted the latest order issued by chief secretary Vijay Dev on Friday.
“To protect Delhiites from exposure to virus from UK, Del govt takes imp decisions. All those arriving from UK, who test positive will be isolated in an isolation facility. Negative ones will be taken to a quarantine facility for 7 days followed by 7 days home quarantine. (sic)” he tweeted.
In the order, the chief secretary stated that this protocol will be strictly followed in Delhi on a trial basis for a week till January 14. Government officials said the rule may be extended after reviewing the situation.
“As a matter of abundant precaution, in view of the increased transmissibility of the new variant, it is decided that all travellers coming from the UK to India would be mandatorily subjected to self-paid RT-PCR tests on arrival at the airport. Those who are found positive shall be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in as separate (isolation) unit as per existing laid down protocol. Those who are found negative shall be kept in compulsory institutional quarantine for a period of seven days followed by seven days of home quarantine,” read the order.
Senior government officials said those who test negative will be given an option for paid institutional quarantine at Aloft Hotel in Aerocity, which has been put on Covid-19 duty by the New Delhi district administration. Those who want to opt for the government’s free institutional quarantine facility will be taken to Terapanth Bhawan in South Delhi’s Chhatarpur area.
Those who test positive will be taken to Lok Nayak Hospital where there is a separate isolation ward for UK returnees.
The latest order by the Delhi government is slightly different from the standard operating procedure (SOP) issued by the Centre on Wednesday. The Delhi chief secretary, on Thursday, had even issued an order asking all stakeholders in the city administration, including the police and airport authorities, to strictly follow the Centre’s SOP in letter and spirit for early detection and isolation of those found with the new strain of the virus.
The SOP issued by the Union ministry of health and family welfare had stated that those who are found negative on testing at the airport would be advised quarantine at home for 14 days. Kejriwal, on Friday, directed this rule to be tweaked and made institutional quarantine mandatory for all UK returnees.