December 2, 2021 3:49:04 pm
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope Thursday said the state health department was not consulted by the relief and rehabilitation department which made institutional quarantine of seven days compulsory for all international travellers coming from at-risk countries. He added the government will also annul the mandatory RT-PCR tests for interstate travellers.
The November 30 order had also made carrying negative RT-PCR reports drawn within 48 hours of arrival irrespective of the vaccination status mandatory for domestic passengers.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Tope said, “We were never consulted when the order was issued on November 30. Anyway, it is already deferred now. The order was hastily signed. In a day or two, we will come up with a new order wherein RT-PCR tests will not be required for interstate travel.”
The order evoked protests and several passengers, top honchos of the industrial sector and corporate officials had complained to various people in the state and the Centre.
On the decision of mandatory institutional quarantine for passengers arriving from at-risk countries, Tope said it is in consonance with the Centre’s orders.
He said he spoke to chief secretary Debashish Chakraborty to modify the order and Chakraborty also informed the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray that the fresh order will soon be issued.
On Wednesday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to Maharashtra Additional Chief Secretary Dr Pradeep Kumar Vyas that four specific guidelines passed by the state for international travellers are in “divergence with the SoPs and guidelines” issued by the Ministry.
“This is in divergence with the SoPs and guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare…I would, therefore, urge you to align the orders issued by the state with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health. So that uniform implementation of the guidelines may be ensured across all states. I would also advise that such modified orders of the state government are given wide publicity to obviate any inconvenience to travellers,” Bhushan wrote.
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