Random Covid tests for arriving international passengers from December 24


The government on Thursday said that a certain number of passengers arriving in international flights will be subject to random coronavirus tests from December 24.

The Union health ministry has written to the civil aviation ministry in this regard amid an increase in coronavirus cases in many countries.

“A sub-section of 2 percent of the total passengers in the flight shall undergo random post-arrival testing at the airport on arrival,” an official communication said.

Such travelers in each flight shall be determined by the airlines concerned and preferably from different countries, it added.

The government’s decision to re-introduce the Covid-19 testing-related measures at airports comes as a part of preventive measures being taken up as coronavirus cases surge globally, especially in China, United States, South Korea, Brazil and Japan. 

Three cases of Omicron subvariant BF.7, apparently the strain driving China’s current surge of Covid cases, have been detected in India so far, officials said on Wednesday, according to news agency PTI. 

The first case of BF.7 in India was detected in October by Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre. So far, two cases have been reported from Gujarat while one case has been reported from Odisha, they said.

On Wednesday Dr V K Paul, Member, Niti Aayog, said that only 27-28% of people have taken the precaution dose against coronavirus infection. Stressing on the need to take the precaution dose, Paul’s statements come in the wake of an alarming surge in Covid-19 cases globally, especially in China.

Dr Paul warned people to keep wearing masks if they are in crowded spaces. “Use a mask if you are in a crowded space, indoors or outdoors. This is all the more important for people with comorbidities or are of higher age” he said.

India’s Covid-19 tally climbed to 4,46,76,330 on Wednesday, 21 December, with 131 fresh infections, while the number of active cases came down to 3,408, according to Union health ministry data.

The toll due to the viral disease increased to 5,30,680 with three more fatalities, including two deaths reconciled by Kerala and one reported from West Bengal in the last 24 hours, the data stated.