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Maharashtra govt revises COVID-19 guidelines for international passengers

In its revised guidelines, the state govt has imposed strict restrictions only on passengers from "High Risk Countries", which are South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

December 02, 2021 / 06:46 PM IST
As per the revised guidelines, domestic passengers who are fully vaccinated need not carry an RT-PCR test report. (Image: News18 Kerala)

As per the revised guidelines, domestic passengers who are fully vaccinated need not carry an RT-PCR test report. (Image: News18 Kerala)

The Maharashtra government on December 2 revised the COVID-19 guidelines for international passengers, after the Union Health Ministry sent a letter on December 1 urging the state government to align the orders given in the wake of the new coronavirus variant omicron with Centre's guidelines.

"High-Risk Air Passengers may be deplaned on priority and separate counters will be arranged by respective airport management authorities at all international airports of the State of Maharashtra for their screening and verification," the state government said.

All “high-risk air passengers” will have to undergo RT-PCR Test immediately on arrival at international airports and a seven-day institutional quarantine with a second RT-PCR Test done on the last day, according to the new guidelines.

If any of the RT-PCR tests is found to be positive, then such a high-risk air passenger shall be shifted to a hospital with Covid-treatment facilities. Even if this passenger tests negative seven days later, he/she will have to undergo a further seven days of home quarantine, said the guidelines.

The new guidelines will also apply to people who visited these nations in the last 15 days, and any passenger who is symptomatic.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

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There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

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Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Domestic travellers

For domestic travellers, the state government has eased restrictions.

As per the revised guidelines, domestic passengers who are fully vaccinated need not carry an RT-PCR test report. However, domestic travellers who are not fully vaccinated must carry a negative RT-PCR report, from a test done not more than 72 hours before boarding the flight.

Meanwhile, DCP-Immigration and Foreign Regional Registration Office (FRRO) will draft a proforma of declaration for all arriving passengers on international flights, to enter details of countries visited in the last 15 days.

Mumbai International Airport will share the proformas with all airlines. The information regarding travel in the last 15 days shall be cross-checked by immigration on arrival.
Yaruqhullah Khan
first published: Dec 2, 2021 06:46 pm
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