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14-day quarantine must for all evacuees from Afghanistan

Considering the nature of the crisis, the Union Health Ministry has already allowed exemption from mandatory pre-boarding RT-PCTR testing (mandated for international travelers) for people who have been evacuated from the war-torn country.

SNS | New Delhi |

All evacuees from Afghanistan¬†will have to undergo mandatory 14-day institutional quarantine at Delhi’s ITBP Chhawla Camp, the Union Health Ministry announced on Tuesday.

The ministry said the Centre is undertaking emergency evacuation of people from Afghanistan to India and considering the nature of the crisis, it has already allowed exemption from mandatory pre-boarding RT-PCTR testing (presently mandated for international travelers) for people who have been evacuated from the war-torn country.

“Coronavirus transmission (including circulation of variants) in Afghanistan is unclear at present, as a matter of abundant precaution, it has been decided that the arriving persons shall undergo a mandatory minimum 14 days institutional quarantine at Sector Headquarters Logistic and Communications, Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Chhawla Camp, Najafgarh Road, New Delhi,” the office memorandum dated August 23 said.

“The Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Civil Aviation shall intimate ITBP adequately in advance about the exact date and timing of these incoming flights along with the passenger manifest. The said information may also be provided to the Government of NCT of Delhi,” it said.

ITBP will make requisite arrangements for arranging transportation of passengers from arrival airport to the Chhawla Camp, Najafgarh. Any person testing positive or detected as symptomatic shall be shifted to identified COVID-19 dedicated Covid Care Centre or Covid hospital of NCT of Delhi, the memorandum stated.

All nodal agencies involved — MEA, MOCA, MHA, ITBP, and Government of NCT of Delhi, NCDC — shall designate and communicate the name, designation, and contact number of their nodal persons to each other and to the Ministry of Health, it added.

RT-PCR tests were conducted on 78 Indian and Afghan nationals returning from Afghanistan on Tuesday. None of the reports have returned positive so far. Yet, all will need to undergo the 14-day mandatory quarantine period.

The move came after two evacuees tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday. As the threat of a possible third Covid wave looms, the move will ensure that positive cases, if any, coming from Afghanistan are taken care of.