Arrived from abroad? It’s home isolation if you test negative on Day 2

Starting Saturday, those arriving from abroad, if tested negative on the second day of arrival, will be allowed to isolate themselves at home. The BMC earlier this week amended its standard operating procedure (SOP) for people arriving in Mumbai from abroad under the Vande Bharat Mission to be able to skip institutional isolation as mandated earlier.

The amended SoP has made it permissible for repatriates or those arriving to the city from abroad to take the RT-PCR test for Covid-19 on the second day of their arrival and home-isolate if the report is negative.

While the isolation requirement is 14 days, the earlier made it mandatory that seven of those 14 days would have to be spent in institutional quarantine and remaining seven at home. Keeping up with the rule, the civic body in April-May converted several hotels near the airport into institutional quarantine facilities for those arriving from abroad. The repatriates have to pay the charges for the duration of their stay and for their Covid-19 test from their own pocket.

The BMC introduced the change in SOP a day after the state government issued revised guidelines last week on Friday for international travellers arriving in the state. The state guideline in turn is based on an order issued by the Union ministry of health and family welfare dated August 2.

"People who have facilities / rooms to isolate themselves at home can opt for the option as soon as they test negative on the second day of their arrival. It will also be their own choice if they still wish to continue at the institutional quarantine for any reason," said a senior BMC official.

BMC officials have further stated that those who got themselves tested within 96 hours of their boarding the plane abroad and were negative could opt for home isolation. They have to submit required details on the website https:// with the test report to get exemption. While others will have to undergo institutional quarantine compulsorily.

As under the earlier SoP, even in the amended one exception will be given in cases like human distress, pregnancy, death in the family, serious illness and parents with children below 10 years, civic body grants exemption from institutional quarantine. "Persons with conditions likes distress, serious illness, or family emergency like deaths and pregnant woman will be exempted from institutional isolation as earlier. However, they need to communicate about it through the website 72 hours before their boarding," said P Velarasu, Additional Municipal Corporation.

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