Bengaluru: The Karnataka government on Saturday issued revised guidelines against COVID infections among people coming from high-risk countries. The guidelines say that 7 days of home quarantine is mandatory for those coming from high-risk countries from the time of their arrival. The government has made negative COVID status a must for passengers coming from those nations.
The government decided to enhance surveillance and containment effort within the State by tracking and quarantining the primary and secondary contacts of COVID-positive persons.
“The international travellers from high-risk countries – China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand – need to be home quarantined for 7 days from the date of their arrival. Once tested positive, the infected people are to be treated and managed as per the State COVID protocol,” said a circular from Health Department meant for international passengers.
Further, it said the RT-PCR certificate of each passenger should be verified for negative COVID status before allowing them to leave the airport.
Airport authorities should provide necessary assistance in this regard, the Health Department said.
It said the district health officer of Bengaluru Urban district, Bengaluru Rural and Kolar have to depute 5 health information officers (HIO) each from their district to Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru from January 1 on a rotation basis until further orders.
The HIOs would carry out the exercise round the clock for which the district health officers have to make necessary travel arrangements for the deputed staff.
“On arrival if any of the international passengers from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand countries are found symptomatic, they shall be immediately isolated and transferred to the designated medical facility for clinical management,” the guideline said.
It said the samples should be collected and submitted for RT-PCR testing and for genome sequencing if tested positive in RT-PCR.
Other asymptomatic passengers should leave the airport and self-monitor their health for symptoms and comply with COVID-appropriate behaviour (CAB) like wearing of face masks, social distancing, practise respiratory and hand hygiene, and strictly remain under home quarantine for the next seven days, the guideline added.
“If the passengers develop symptoms like fever, cough, cold, body ache, headache, loss of taste and smell, diarrhoea and breathing difficulty, they shall immediately self-isolate and report to the local surveillance health team for testing,” the Health Department said.
“If tested positive, they shall be shifted to the designated medical facility (government or private) for isolation. Positive samples shall be sent for genome sequencing,” it added.
If the genome sequencing report shows anyone positive for the BF.7 variant or a new sub-variant, then another sample should be taken for RT-PCR and the person should follow CAB strictly till the results are known, the department said.
“If children below 12 years of age who are exempted from both pre-departure and post-arrival testing develop symptoms on arrival or during the period of self-monitoring and home quarantine for next seven days, they shall follow the same protocol as above for adults except that a parent or guardian in good health shall accompany them and be the care-giver to the child during the period of isolation and treatment as applicable,” the guidelines read.
The department said that 10 per cent of international passengers from high-risk countries should be monitored through a call centre on a daily basis for symptoms and for further action.
The Health Department issued a circular for the people of Karnataka in view of rising cases in certain parts of the world.
The measures have been taken in view of the new Variant of Concern (VoC)- XBB and BF.7 spreading rapidly in a few countries of the globe and a few cases are reported in India and the State of Karnataka too, it said.
In its circular, the government said the primary contacts and secondary contacts (PC/SC) should be quarantined within 24 hours of identification at their designated places or home.
According to the Health Department, currently, about 30 to 40 cases are being reported daily in Karnataka and the test positivity rate (TPR) has been around 0.5 per cent to 0.7 per cent for the past five months.