States, UTs intensify vigil on foreign travelers

NEW DELHI: In a bid to check the spread of coronavirus, many state and Union Territories have intensified monitoring of international passengers who arrived in their jurisdictions over the past two months, officials said on Saturday.
The state and UT administrations have geared up their machinery after Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, in a letter Friday, told them that more than 15 lakh international travellers have arrived in India since January 18, but there appears to be a gap between the actual monitoring for COVID-19 and the total arrivals.
“We have information that the State and UT administrations have intensified their vigil on people who have arrived from abroad in last two months and whether any of them is developing symptoms of Covid-19,” a government official said.
Next few days are crucial and if anyone shows any symptoms, the local authorities will take action to quarantine them or shift to a designated hospital, the official said.
In his letter to Chief Secretaries of all States and UTs, the Cabinet Secretary said the gap in monitoring of international passengers for Coronavirus may seriously jeopardise the efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19, given that many amongst the persons who have tested positive for so far in India have history of international travel.
“As you are aware, we initiated screening of international incoming passengers at the airports with effect from January 18, 2020. I have been informed that up to March 23, 2020, cumulatively, Bureau Of Immigration has shared details of more than 15 lakh incoming international passengers with the States / UTs for monitoring for Covid-19.
“However, there appears to be a gap between the number of international passengers who need to be monitored by the States / UTs and the actual number of passengers being monitored,” Gauba said in his letter.
The government has started monitoring of all international passengers who have arrived in India over the last two months in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Gauba said it is important that all international passengers are put under close surveillance to prevent the spread of the epidemic.
“I understand that Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has repeatedly emphasised this and requested the States and UTs to take immediate steps in this regard.
“I would, therefore, like to request you to ensure that concerted and sustained action is taken urgently to put such passengers under surveillance immediately as per MoHFW guidelines,” he said.

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