New coronavirus strain: Maha govt issues SOPs for passengers arriving from Europe, Middle East, and South Africa
ANI (Representational Image)

The sudden emergence of a fast-spreading variant of CoVID-19 in UK believed to be up to 70% more transmissible than the original strain is a cause of concerm. It has been reported that a distinct Phylogenetic cluster of SARsCov-2 (named lineage B.1.1.7) has been detected. In view of this, the government of Maharashtra has formulated following standard operating protocol (SOP) which will come into effect immediately.

1. This SOP shall apply for Passengers and flight/ airline staff -flights arriving from Europe, Middle-East Countries and South Africa and arriving in Maharashtra.

2. All the Airports and Seaports should be alerted to the possible threat of the spread of a new strain of coronavirus.

3. An area at the far end of the airport terminal should be identified and prepared for receiving these flights.

4. The area should be large enough to receive daily flights coming from areas of concern.

5. The designated area should have adequate air-bridges, so as to receive the flights in a staggered manner to avoid overcrowding.

6. The designated area should have adequate separate, immigration, luggage, and custom centers for managing these flight passengers.

7. There should be a separate set up of APHO for screening and testing of these passengers and staff.

8. The staff of the aircraft should be kept in an isolated area following the necessary preventive measures. They should not be allowed to enter the terminal.

9. The ground level airport staff coming in contact with them should be minimal and follow all the personal protective measures and all sanitary measures.

10. The ground level staff working in the designated area, at which the above-mentioned lights land, should put on PPE throughout their duty.

11. The disinfection of the area should be strictly monitored.

12. Preventive measures at all the airport terminals should be further strengthened. Regular monitoring of the process and feedback is very important till the presence of the threat of new strain of Coronavirus.

13. The airport airline staff should ensure that the passengers disembarking from the above-mentioned lights are wearing properly fitted masks, have sanitized the visible part of their hands thoroughly. In case any passenger is not wearing a mask, it should be provided to them.

14. It should be strictly ensured that at all times, the staff and the passengers follow respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene and social distancing

15. The flow of passengers in the airport premises should be such that they should not in any way (not even by mistake) get mixed with the passengers coming from other flights or other staff.

16. The immigration of the passengers should be done in that defined restricted area only.

17. The passengers will be taken by this specially assigned staff to a separate screening center set up by the APHO (which is within the defined restricted area). In this center, relevant information will be taken from the passengers in a more detailed format.

18. All passengers will be screened for the presence of symptoms and if found symptomatic shall be subjected to RT-PCR sample testing with all the necessary precautions. These symptomatic passengers shall be sent to identified hospital in the city and get admitted and should be treated accordingly.

19. All other passengers shall undergo 14 days of mandatory paid Institutional Quarantine at arrival city. These passengers shall NOT BE ALLOWED outside the designated quarantine facility before 14 days, in any condition.

20. Municipal Commissioner of the city where the Airport is located shall identify different category hotels as Institutional Quarantine facility and shall also earmark a dedicated health care facility for identifñied suspects. He shall also appoint a Nodal Officer to see the implementation of these SOPs.

21. All passengers should complete 14 days of Quarantine and should be RTPCR negative before discharge.

Guidelines to be followed during transportation of the passengers from these flights

1) The passengers will be transported along with their luggage to the designated hotel for institutional quarantine. Paid transport shall be arranged by the Nodal Officer with the help of RTO.

2) Dedicated Transportation arrangement for these passengers should be

made with the availability of transportation vehicles and trained staff.

Guidelines to be followed at the place of stay:

1. The quarantine facilities where these passengers will stay should strictly follow all the guidelines so that there should not be any mingling of the passengers within the facility.

2. The passengers shall be monitored daily for development of any symptoms through Aarogya Setu App or by the health team.

3. In case any passenger develops symptoms of COVID-19, he/she should be shifted to a specially designated hospital for treating the new strain virus.

4. Also, if any passenger tests positive on RT-PCR, he/she should be considered to be infected with the new strain and should be immediately shifted to the designated hospital for further management

The Nodal officer shall be overall Incharge of implementation of SOPs and responsible for coordination with Airport Authorities, Health Authorities, Hotel, Transport Authorities for smo0oth implementation of Guidelines.

Most important: All these activities should be done very aptly without raising any panic, or any differential behavior towards th passengers. Utmost care should be taken towards increasing awareness among the passengers and the airport staff.


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