JANUARY 2, 2023
Indian authorities have clarified that international travelers arriving in India from six high-risk countries – China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, and Singapore – will have to upload a negative RT-PCR test report 72 hours before boarding their flights, even if their flights are only passing through these nations. This has come at a time when the world’s most populous nation has been reeling under the worst Covid outbreak since the start of the pandemic. Videos showing overburdened hospitals and citizens struggling in this latest outbreak have been doing the rounds on Social media.
A report released last month had informed that till December 20, nearly 18 per cent of Chinese citizens have been infected by the Covid virus.
India had earlier announced that passengers ‘arriving’ from China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore will be required to provide the negative Covid test result. The recent clarification is presumably meant to expand India’s defense against the virus that is currently wreaking havoc in China. Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction Test, or commonly known as RT-PCR test, are known to be the most reliable indicator of the virus’s presence.
Even though India’s daily Covid numbers are too low for any panic to creep in, India authorities have taken measures to remain vigilant against the virus. The centre had in the previous month asked states to ensure masks are worn in crowded places and Covid protocol is followed. The government also emphasized the need to have required availability of medical oxygen to be prepared for any outbreak. Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month held a high-level meeting after which he said that “Covid is not yet over”. He also urged caution in his monthly radio address “Mann Ki Baat”.
Meanwhile, hospital drills have been conducted across the nation last week to review the preparedness of medical facilities in the nation. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had even visited Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital to review one such drill.