NEW DELHI: The Delhi government has suspended the rule for seven days of mandatory institutional quarantine for flyers coming from the UK and testing negative for Covid. The decision has been taken in the wake of low positivity rate among such individuals. All flyers testing negative for Covid will now be required to be in 14 days of home isolation. For UK returnees testing positive for Covid, treatment protocol according to their health condition is invoked.
Rule changed due to low positivity rate
The protocol of seven-day institutional quarantine followed by seven days of home quarantine for people testing negative started in the first week of January when the new variant of coronavirus raged through the UK.
In the middle of January, Delhi government had extended the rule for United Kingdom returnees till January 31.
“The situation has now been reviewed and considering low positivity rate of UK returnees, it has been decided that the measure of compulsory institutional quarantine of travellers tested negative may not be required furthermore and the government may align with the standard operating procedure issued by the central government from time to time in this regard,” a Delhi Disaster Management Authority order stated. The central government’s SOP requires 14-day home quarantine for all UK returnees tested negative.
All air passengers arriving from the UK are mandatorily subjected to self-paid RT-PCR tests on arrival at the airport. Passengers testing positive are isolated in an institutional facility. Their samples are sent for genome sequencing to determine whether they are infected with the new coronavirus variant and as per the severity of the case, treatment protocol follows.
DDMA has ordered strict surveillance on persons who tested negative for Covid-19 at the airport and kept in home quarantine. The district authorities carry out tests on persons who develop Covid-like symptoms during the home isolation and in case a person tests positive, an extensive contact tracing also follows.
Dozens of persons who returned from the UK between November 25 and December 22 (before the government banned all flights from the UK) tested Covid positive during house-to-house testing. They were admitted to Lok Nayak Hospital where a special isolation ward was created to keep the UK returnees suspected to have been infected with the new variant.
Local officials in Nanjing said that seven of those infected were in critical condition.
The new spike in cases has led some on Chinese social media to speculate about whether the Chinese vaccines were working against the Delta variant.
It is unclear if those infected were vaccinated.
A number of South East Asian countries relying on Chinese vaccines have recently announced they will use other jabs.
China has so far managed to keep the virus largely under control by closing borders and moving quickly to stamp out local outbreaks.