GUWAHATI: The Assam government on Sunday issued a new SOP, including mandatory RT-PCR test on arrival, for international travellers, amid rising number of cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the country.
The fresh standard operating procedure made 7-day home quarantine compulsory for those who test negative for the coronavirus infection.
The new SOP has been formulated on the basis of the protocol for international travellers prepared by the Centre, state Health Minister Keshab Mahanta said in a statement.
India reported 17 more cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 on Sunday - nine in Rajasthan capital Jaipur, seven in Maharashtra's Pune district and a 37-year-old fully vaccinated man who arrived in Delhi from Tanzania - taking the tally to 21 in the country.
Most of those who tested positive either recently arrived from African countries or were in contact with such people.
With this, four states and the national capital have now reported cases of the potentially more contagious variant which has sparked a fresh alert across the world.
The country reported the first two cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 on Thursday in Karnataka.
Both patients are fully vaccinated.
On Saturday, a 72-year-old NRI from Gujarat and a 33-year-old man from Maharashtra's Thane tested positive for the new strain.
All international travellers will have to undergo compulsory RT-PCR test for COVID-19 on arrival with children below five years of age having been exempted, Mahanta said.
However, if any child below five years of age coming from abroad is having symptoms for COVID-19, a test will have to be conducted, he said.
If travellers are found positive for the infection, they will have to abide by the state government protocol for the treatment of such patients, and their samples will also be sent to laboratories for genome sequencing to determine the COVID variant.
International travellers, who test negative on arrival, will compulsorily have to undergo seven-day home quarantine, the statement said.
As per the new SOP, district authorities will keep track of overseas travellers and ensure that they follow all the protocols.
It also asked those who are going out of or coming into Assam to upload a self-declaration form on "Air Suvidha" portal before the scheduled journey.
They have to submit travel details for the last 14-days and their negative RT-PCR report, not older than 72 hours.
Each passenger will also have to submit a declaration with respect to the authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution if found otherwise.
They should also give an undertaking on the portal or to the Ministry of Civil Aviation through airlines before they are allowed to undertake the journey that they would abide by decisions of the appropriate government authority to undergo home or institutional quarantine as warranted.