Airport checks intensified as Kerala steps up guard against Omicron threat

Omicron COVID-19 variant
Represnetative image: Shutterstock/angellodeco

Thiruvananthapuram: All safety measures are in place to receive overseas passengers arriving at airports in Kerala in the wake of several countries reporting the presence of Omicron, State Health Minister Veena George said.

Passengers from foreign countries will be tested on arrival to trace and prevent the spread of Omicron, a recently discovered variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Those testing positive will be shifted to separate wards in hospitals.

Those passengers from 'at risk' countries and testing negative for COVID-19, will have to sequester themselves at their respective homes for a week, before undergoing a test. Others would require self-observation for any symptoms.

Karnataka reported India's first two cases of Omicron infection on Thursday

Kiosks to be set up at airports

Kiosks will be set up at airports for conducting RT-PCR tests and to evaluate the health of passengers. Pregnant women, mothers with newborns, infants, children aged up to 10, differently-abled, those with comorbidities, elderly, and family members accompanying these people will get priority at the kiosks.

Ambulances have been arranged at all airports to shift those testing positive to hospitals, the minister said.

Home quarantine for those testing negative

Further detailing the protocol, George said those testing negative will be allowed to proceed home to remain in self-quarantine in their vehicle. Only the driver will be allowed in the vehicle ferrying the passenger. The passengers should take the rear seat, partitioned from the front row using an anti-virus barrier such as plastic sheet.

Face masks and face shields are mandatory for drivers taking passengers from the airport. The vehicles should not stop en route to visit any shops.

The vehicles should be sanitised after dropping off the passenger.  

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