Centre opposes Mah govt’s mandatory RT-PCR for Int’l passengers

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The Centre on Wednesday opposed the Maharashtra government’s order of mandatory RT-PCR testing of all international travellers at the Mumbai airport irrespective of the country of origin.

In a letter to the Additional Chief Secretary of Maharashtra government, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said: “This is in divergence with the SoPs and the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of lndia”.

The Maharashtra government has made it mandatory for intra-state travellers to either be fully vaccinated or hold valid RT-PCR tests and for inter-state travellers to produce RT-PCR tests (48 hours), without exception. The 14-day home quarantine for all international passengers has been made mandatory despite being testing RT-PCR negative upon arrival.

For international passengers with connecting flights to any other airport in India, an RT-PCR test at the first arrival airport in Maharashtra will be mandatory. They will be allowed to board the connecting flight only if the test result is negative, as per the order.

The Maha government has taken the measures amid the looming threat of new Covid variant Omicron which has been detected in many countries.

Health Secretary said in the letter, “This is in divergence with the SoPs & guidelines issued by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of lndia. I would, therefore, urge you to align the orders issued by the state with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, so that uniform implementation of the guidelines may be ensured across all states and UTs”.

“I would also advise that such modified orders of the State Government are given wide publicity to obviate any inconvenience to travellers,” the letter read.

The Union Health Ministry has issued a revised guidelines for international travellers coming to India in the wake of Covid variant Omicron.

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