A medical team led by a senior medical officer has been deployed at the Visakhapatnam International airport since Tuesday night to check the passengers flying in from Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, and Hyderabad. Speaking to Hello Vizag Officer on Special Duty and Principal of Andhra Medical College Dr. PV Sudhakar said “ we have asked the medical personnel to check tickets of passengers to ensure they did not fly in from England or any other European country. There is a possibility that some arriving from England might have missed the screening test at the port of landing in India.
Dr. Sudhakar said suspected persons would have to undergo RT-PCR test and by genome mapping, the new strain could be found. Apart from Vizag, Rajahmundry, Vijayawada, and Tirupati airports have also been put on alert. Health experts said two months’ travel history must be checked of those who arrived from England and Europe. They said SOPs Union Health Ministry has been received and they have been waiting for the SOPs from the state government.
Though the Union Government has made it mandatory for all passengers arriving from the UK in all transit flights to undergo at the airports itself and if found positive be sent to institutional quarantine and if found negative, to be advised for home isolation for seven days, the AP Government has to keep monitoring closely on both the positive and negative cases. Moreover, it also faces a tough task to handle those who test negative and subsequently turn positive and asymptomatic, as they pose the danger of becoming super-spreaders of the virus.
Against this backdrop, the state health authorities suggest resuming of screening of air passengers like it was during the peak Covid period. On the other hand, the number of arrival /departure of air passengers at all four airports in the state is gradually rising to pre-Covid days. In Visakhapatnam Airport, the passenger arrivals were 1.40 in November and 1.60 in December, and on an average of 2.20 lakh, passengers were arriving in a month on domestic flights. Visakhapatnam airport director M Raj Kishore said, “We are ready to facilitate the screening of passengers for Covid-19 if asked to do so in the wake of finding a new strain of the virus in the UK”.
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