The decision was taken in an urgent meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla. The meeting followed the high-level review by Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue.
According to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, it was decided that the government will further review Standard Operating Procedure on testing and surveillance of incoming international passengers, especially for those countries identified ‘at risk’ category,
Chairing the meeting, the Home Secretary in presence of experts decided that a closer watch on the emerging pandemic situation within the country will be maintained.
Besides, other experts, including Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, Dr Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to Prime Minister, and senior officials from Health, Civil Aviation and other ministries comprehensively reviewed the overall global situation in wake of the Omicron virus.
“Various preventive measures in place and to be further strengthened were discussed. Further, the decision on the effective date of resumption of scheduled commercial international flights will be reviewed, as per evolving global scenario,” said a Home Ministry statement.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, genomic surveillance for variants is to be further strengthened and intensified. “Airport Health Officials (APHOs) and Port Health Officials (PHOs) will be sensitised for strict supervision of testing protocol at airports and ports.”
On November 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had chaired a comprehensive meeting that lasted for almost two hours to review the public health preparedness and vaccination-related situation for Covid-19.
Notably, the government had decided to resume scheduled regular international flights from December 15, nearly 20 months after these flights were suspended to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had suspended operations of scheduled international commercial passenger services to and from India with effect from March 23, 2020, due to Covid-19.
For the resumptions of flights, the countries have been categorized into three categories with separate capacity restrictions. The categorisation has been done based on the COVID-19 situation in the country.