SRINAGAR, Dec 2: Fears of Omicron have prompted the Srinagar administration to threaten legal action and a fine of Rs 20,000 against anyone who hides their international travel history at Srinagar Airport.
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These measures are being taken to stop the spread of a new COVID-19 variant -Omicron, which has been classified as potentially dangerous by the World Health Organization (WHO) and has already spread to several countries around the world.
“All international travellers and those who have travelled within the last two weeks must take the RTPC test at Srinagar airport, and they must remain under administrative quarantine until the test results are confirmed. We are talking about foreign tourists, as well as local travellers who have travelled internationally”, Deputy Commissioner, Mohammad Aijaz Asad told Excelsior.
He said that if somebody is caught concealing travel history, legal action would be taken against them, as well as a fine of Rs 20,000 will be imposed.
The DC said that there are two forms of administrative quarantine: free administrative quarantine, which they provide, and paid administrative quarantine. “The travellers who arrived today have been placed under administrative quarantine, and if their tests are positive, we have a distinct protocol in place, which includes hospital isolation at the DRDO facility”, he said.
He said that those who test negative will be placed under home quarantine or hospital quarantine in the case of tourists, for seven days, during which time they will be monitored by Chief Medical Officers and will be tested again if they develop any symptoms. “If the results are negative, they must self-monitor for the next seven days at home. If the test is positive, they will be sent to the hospital immediately and samples will be sent for genome sequencing according to protocol”, he added.
He ensured that the efforts taken in the past to stop the virus from spreading would be repeated, and urged people to follow COVID SOPs to prevent the situation from worsening. “Virus impact is reduced in areas where vaccination and masking have been performed. If we want to avoid the lockdown and other drastic measures that have been used in the past for public health reasons, we should follow CAB and COVID SOPs”, he said.
Meanwhile, a group of tourists challenged the measure, claiming that the administration should adhere to Central Government standards. “I arrived here this morning following a trip to the Maldives on the 26th and was asked to undergo quarantine”, he said, adding the Central Government has issued a list of countries from which tourists must undergo quarantine and the Maldives does not appear in that list, but he was forced to undergo quarantine.
He said that their entire budget would be squandered. “We want them to follow the regulations set down by the Central Government. If we are negative, we should be permitted to enter Kashmir and travel according to our plans to avoid wasting our money”, he said.
“We have been offered two options: one is a free Government facility, but we have heard reports that there is no hot water, no food, and no WiFi in the facility. The second choice is to stay in a hotel, but it would cost us money”, he said adding that the Government quarantine facilities are inadequate.