Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba has asked state chief secretaries and administrators of the Union Territories to extensively carry out contact tracing as more than 15 lakh international passengers have landed in India since January 18.
“More than 15 lakh foreign travellers came to India over the last two months but a gap in monitoring by states could seriously jeopardize India's efforts to check the spread of coronavirus or COVID-19,” said Gauba who is heading the COVID-19 crisis management group.
He brought to the notice of states and UTs that there was a gap between the actual monitoring of international passengers of COVID-19 and the total arrivals from abroad.
He asked states and UTs for urgent “concerted and sustained action’’ to ensure that passengers not on the radar are placed under surveillance immediately. He also urged them to actively involve the district authorities in this effort.
The centre had started screening international passengers at the airport from January 18, the letter pointed out. "I have been informed that up to March 23, cumulatively, the Bureau of Immigration has shared details of more than 15 lakh incoming international passengers with states and Union Territories for monitoring COVID-19. However, there appears to be a gap between the number of international passengers who need to be monitored by states and UTs and the actual number of passengers being monitored," Gauba said in his letter.
"This may seriously jeopardise our efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, given that many among people who have tested positive so far in India have a history of international travel. It is important that they are put under close surveillance to prevent the spread of the epidemic," said the Cabinet Secretary.
He added, "I understand that the ministry of health and family welfare has repeatedly emphasized this and requested the states and UTs to take immediate steps in this regard."
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