Following the eruption of the new Covit-19 variant of the ‘Omigron’ concern in some countries, India may hit the brakes on the resumption of commercial international flights. However, officials said the decision would have no impact on the currently operating air bubbles.
The federal government on Sunday reviewed the strategy following reports that the new variant is more dangerous and more easily spread than other Govt varieties. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the growing epidemic situation in the country is being closely monitored.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Palla to review the resumption of planned commercial international flights in view of the growing global situation.
The meeting was held with various experts including Finance Commission Member (Health) VK Paul, Prime Minister’s Principal Scientific Adviser Vijay Raghavan and senior officials from the Ministries of Health, Civil Aviation and other Ministries.
“The overall global situation after Omicron was reviewed in detail. Various preventive measures and further strengthening were discussed at the meeting,” a senior official who attended the meeting said.
According to him, a standard operational procedure for the screening and monitoring of incoming international travelers is adopted, especially in countries identified as ‘at risk’. Airport health officials and port health officials have been instructed to strictly monitor inspection protocols at airports and ports, ”he added.
The meeting came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s high-level review meeting on the new COVID-19 variant of ‘Omigron’.
After a long hiatus of more than 20 months, the government announced on November 26 that it would resume scheduled international commercial flights from December 15.
Scheduled international flights to India have been grounded since March 23, 2020 due to a corona virus infection. However, special international passenger flights have been operating since July last year under air bubble arrangements made with 31 countries.
The new, highly contagious B.1.1.529 variant was first reported from South Africa to the World Health Organization (WHO) on November 24, and was also found in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel.
It was named “variant of anxiety” by the WHO on Friday and was named ‘Omicron’. An alarming variant is the WHO’s foremost of the anxious Covid-19 variants.