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Centre should stop flights from countries hit by Omicron: Delhi health minister reiterates Kejriwal’s demand

He was reiterating the demand of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has appealed to the Prime Minister on two occasions in the past, asking that flight from these countries be stopped to make sure the new variant does not spread in the country.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: December 6, 2021 7:55:04 am
Delhi: Roads in Mayapuri & Mangolpuri industrial areas to be upgraded, says Satyendar JainDelhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain (File photo)

With the first case of Covid cause by the Omicron variant being detected in Delhi, Health Minister Satyendar Jain said the Centre should stop flights coming from countries where the variant has been detected so far.

He was reiterating the demand of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has appealed to the Prime Minister on two occasions in the past, asking that flight from these countries be stopped to make sure the new variant does not spread in the country.

At present, passengers from Europe as well as 10 other countries have been tagged as ‘at risk’ by the Indian government. These include South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Singapore, and Israel. Passengers arriving from these countries have to mandatorily get tested at the airport and wait for the results. If they test positive for Covid, they are taken to Lok Nayak Hospital where they are kept under isolation and their samples are sent for genome testing.
Jain said the Centre should now concede to the request made by Kejriwal.

“It is very unfortunate (that flights were not stopped earlier). Five new cases have been reported in the country so far. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had written a letter to the Centre and appealed that flights coming from these countries be stopped for some time. But the central government did not do so… Delhi receives the maximum number of flights from abroad, so it is most at risk. The central government should accept the demand of the Chief Minister and flights coming from all countries affected by the Omicron variant should be stopped at the earliest,” Jain said.

Officials said no such call has been taken by the Centre so far.

Lok Nayak Hospital has 40 isolation wards for anyone affected by the Omicron variant. Jain said that a facility of another 500 beds is ready to be set up if need be. Delhi has two genome testing labs, one at Lok Nayak Hospital and the other at ILBS Hospital.

Jain said people need to be vigilant and follow Covid-protocol strictly.

“People should not panic. Omicron is not a new disease but a variant of the Coronavirus itself. Its symptoms are also similar to almost all the last variants. The protocol for its treatment and prevention is also the same as before. We just need to be careful. People were not following Covid-appropriate behaviour as cases have started decreasing but we all need to be more careful now. People who have not yet taken the vaccine should get vaccinated as soon as possible,” he said.

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