Following recommendations by the State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), Karnataka has now mandated seven-day home quarantine for asymptomatic international passengers arriving in the State from five high-risk countries — China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand, and Hong Kong.
With the TAC advising that 10% of all those under home quarantine should be monitored by a call centre daily for COVID-19 symptoms and for further action, the State Health Department issued a circular directing all health officers and ASHA workers to trace, track and quarantine primary and secondary contacts of all COVID-19 positive persons.
The TAC held its 190th meeting on December 30, Friday, in the wake of the Centre making it mandatory for all passengers travelling to India from these countries to undergo RT-PCR tests before their departure from (the six countries) and upload the COVID negative RT-PCR test report on Air Suvidha portal from January 1, 2023. This requirement is in addition to the random 2% tests of all international passengers.
“There are ten direct flights from the above five countries to Bengaluru except for South Korea and China. About 49,000 passengers (85% seat load factor) are expected to arrive in the next month from the three countries that have direct flights to the city. Some of these passengers will transit from Bengaluru to other States and cities and the risk of spreading the infection is high,” TAC Chairman M.K. Sudarshan told The Hindu on Saturday.
“Several cases of travellers developing symptoms a few days after arrival have been reported. Hence, we recommended strict seven-day home quarantine. During this period they should self monitor their health for COVID symptoms,” he said.
“Although they are asymptomatic, these passengers should follow strict compliance to COVID-19 appropriate behavior during the home quarantine period,” he said.
In the meantime, if they develop symptoms, they should immediately self-isolate and report to the local surveillance/ health team and shift to the designated medical facility (government or private) for testing. If they test RT-PCR positive, such samples should be sent for whole genome sequencing (WGS).
At the designated hospital, they should be triaged and further managed at the hospital or sent to a COVID-19 Care Center or home isolation subject to facilities available and compliance by the patient.
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 the next seven days, they should also follow the same protocol as above for adults except that a parent/guardian in good health should accompany them and be the caregiver to the child during the period of isolation and treatment as applicable, the doctor added.