Omicron threat: screening of international passengers intensified at Madurai airport

S. Aneesh Sekhar   | Photo Credit: ASHOK R

With the threat of omicron variant of COVID-19 looming large, health officials intensified screening of international passengers arriving at Madurai airport on Monday.

Besides, the district administration has planned to tighten implementation of social distancing and mask wearing and also impose fines on individual and commercial establishments found flouting the norms, according to Collector, S. Aneesh Sekhar.

Talking to The Hindu, here on Monday, Dr. Sekhar said that only those who come with RTPCR negative report would be allowed to board incoming international flights from foreign countries.

“Though we do not have direct flights to those countries where omicron viral infection has been detected, we are watching whether someone is coming from those countries through Dubai,” Dr. Sekhar said.

Stating that all international passengers will have to undergo seven days home quarantine, Deputy Director (Health), A. Palanisamy, said that those passengers will have to undergo second RTPCR test on the 8th day.

Those who test positive on arrival, would be taken to the Government Rajaji Hospital for treatment, he added.

Passengers from South Africa, Israel, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Honk Kong, China, Botswana, Singapore, Brazil, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and from other European countries will be on the watch list.

“We are also collecting the details of international passengers who had arrived from those countries in the last 10 days,” the Collector said.

Facilities ready

Stating that all required facilities from adequate number of beds to oxygen cylinders were ready in the district, Dr. Sekhar said that whenever the need arose, the facilities would be ramped up.

While on an average 3,000 RT-PCR tests were being done every day, he said the number of tests would be increased as contact tracing will be intensified for those testing positive.

The district has been reporting positive cases in only single digit each day in recent weeks.

Focus on vaccination

Stating that vaccination was expected to give protection against Omicron, Dr. Sekhar said that more focus would be given for vaccination of people.

Madurai district has so far achieved a low target on vaccination front with only 71.5% of eligible population getting the first dose, the Collector said and appealed to the people to come forward to get vaccinated.

“Fear among alcohol consumers that they should not drink after taking vaccination has made them hesitant to get the jab,” he said.

The district administration would keep a watch at public congregations and insist that those who do not get vaccinated are not allowed in theatres, auditorium and shopping malls in order to encourage vaccination, the Collector said.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 5:47:14 PM |

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