In light of the new COVID-19 'Omicron' variant, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar on Saturday announced that passengers returning from South Africa will be quarantined on arrival in Mumbai and their samples will be sent for genome sequencing.
Pednekar said that the concern over the new COVID variant has increased in Mumbai and genome tests of passengers coming from South Africa will be done.
"There is no restriction on outbound flights in any way. But this decision has been taken keeping in view the past experience. There is an increased risk of coronavirus in foreign countries, so those coming from outside will have to undergo genome tests," she said.
Pednekar further urged people to maintain social distance and wear masks so that this new menace can be stopped.
"I request everyone to maintain social distance and wear masks so that this new menace can be stopped," she added.
Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has called a meeting of senior officials at 5:30 pm today with regard to the variant.
The meeting is called by BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal.
According to BMC, the members of the COVID task force, dean of COVID hospitals, ward officers, health officers will attend the meeting.
The measures and restrictions to deal with the new variants will be discussed in the meeting.
In the meeting, they will also discuss testing and contact tracing of passengers coming from other countries.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also chaired a meeting on the situation relating to COVID-19 and vaccination with top officials.
India has also added several countries to the list from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India, including post-arrival testing for infection.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare adds Hong Kong and Israel to the list of countries from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India, including post-arrival testing considering the detection of the new COVID variant 'Omicron' in South Africa.
After the variant was detected, the epidemiological situation in South Africa has been characterized by three distinct peaks in reported cases, the latest of which was predominantly the Delta variant, the WHO informed in a statement.
"In recent weeks, infections have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection of B.1.1.529 variant. The first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on 9 November 2021," the statement said.
This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa.
(With agency inputs)
ALSO READPM Narendra Modi chairs meet on COVID-19 situation, vaccination amid concerns over new strain...
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)