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Passengers at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi Image Credit: PTI

Dubai: India has clarified quarantine measures for international passengers, including those from the UAE, and warned of penal action aginst those found to be violating them.

The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday issued the standard operating procedures [SOPs] for passenger movement post disembarkation and for their quarantine.

The move comes a day after Gulf News highlighted concerns of Indian expats in the UAE over the lack of clarity on the place of quarantine after India announced a compulsory 14-day quarantine for passengers travelling and transiting from the UAE, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar.

The regulation came into effect at 4pm in the UAE.

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Passengers wearing masks to protect themselves from coronavirus

The Indian Consulate in Dubai, which along with the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, was contacted by concerned expats, took to Twitter to post the announcement from the ministry back home.

Though the announcement has been made with regard to passengers arriving in Delhi, it is understood that similar procedures would be implemented in states that do not have SOPs in place.

The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi confirmed to Gulf News that all states have their own quarantine facilities and the place of quarantine for passengers would be decided based on each passenger’s risk.

“It will be decided on a case-to-case basis by health and airport authorities on arrival. Depending on the situation, they will be quarantined at designated quarantine facilities or asked to be home quarantined,” a spokesperson said.

What penal action will be taken against the violators has not been specified.

Reports from Kerala said those with symptoms would face up to three years in jail and Rs10,000 fine if they are found to hide and spread the infection. Ther jail term will have to be served after they are free from the infection.

Those posing a risk of infection can get a sentence of up to three months in jail and Rs1,000 fine if they knowingly mingle with the public, according to reports.

Quarantine at home v/s government facility

As per the announcement, passengers would be screened at the airports and those without any risk factors would be sent for home quarantine.

This would be done after providing them their passports, the home quarantine advisory and collecting a declaration from them.

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Quarantine at home. Picture for illustrative purpose only Image Credit: Stock image

The declaration is to remain strictly under home quarantine, or else face penal action, as per the rules, according to the ministry.

At the assigned counter, the passports of the entire batch will be handed over by the Team Lead to the Medical Officer in-charge of the counter.

“The possibility of stamping the passengers, as done in Maharashtra, with Home Quarantine Stamps would be explored,” the ministry stated.

Passengers ordered to be home quarantined would be linked to the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) under the ministry.

In Delhi, the Government would depute Delhi State IDSP team for this purpose.

The high risk passengers identified for quarantine at the facilities would be first asked to fill up a declaration opting for paid hotel facility or government quarantine facility (based on availability) and subsequently would be quarantined as per the availability of quarantine facilities given by the state government.

The escort team would escort these passengers to the transport provided by the state government.

The passengers shall be quarantined as per guidelines, the ministry said.

Procedures that passengers must abide by after landing in India:

1. Ministry of Civil Aviation would instruct the airport authorities to stagger the arrival of flights from COVID-19 affected areas so that the flow of passengers is maintained for screening.

2. From dedicated aerobridges, the passengers will arrive escorted by airline staff to the APHO health counters for initial thermal screening, where symptomatic passengers would be isolated and moved to designated hospital as per the existing SOPs.

3. After screening, the remaining asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to move to the designated immigration counters with passports and a copy of the SRF (Self-Reporting Form) as per the existing SOP.

Airline staff in the aircraft and at ground will ensure that the arriving passengers have filled their SRFs properly.

4. After clearance of immigration, the passport of the passengers shall be retained by the immigration officials.

6. Passengers in batches of 30 will be handed over to the escort team (24x7 - five-member team). The passports of these passengers would be handed over by the immigration staff to the team lead. THE PASSPORTS SHALL NOT BE HANDED OVER TO THE PASSENGERS AT ANY COST.

7. The team, along with the passengers shall move to the luggage belts to collect the luggage. If there is any delay/missing luggage in the case of any/few passengers, the respective passenger shall stay behind along with a team member and the rest of the team and passengers shall proceed further through the customs.

8. If there is any delay in customs clearance, the respective passenger shall stay behind along with a team member, while the rest of the team and passengers shall proceed.

9. The team along with the passengers shall move to the designated triage area manned by Delhi state govvernment officials with logistics like laptops, etc. The control room in-charge would perform the functions of supervision and coordination.

10. There would be a control room at the triage area and five screening counters manned by medical officers and para-medical staff deputed by Delhi Government.

11. The escort team would report to the control room in-charge who will assign a counter to the batch.

12. At the assigned counter, the passports of the entire batch will be handed over by the team lead to the medical officer in-charge of the counter.

Here the passengers would be screened and standard operating procedure for quarantine would be implemented.