Following a surge in Coronavirus cases in 5 states, Delhi will make it mandatory for those arriving from these states to furnish a negative Covid-19 test report starting Friday, 26th February 2021.
People traveling from Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab via flights, trains or buses will have to show a negative RT-PCR test from Friday midnight to March 15,2021. While the authorities are yet to issue a formal order, the development comes in light of 84 percent of the new virus cases emerging from these states. Those traveling via personal vehicles have been exempted.
The ministry advised the states to increase testing in a focused manner in the affected districts by splitting the process into RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen tests while ensuring that all symptomatic negatives of antigen tests are compulsorily tested via RT-PCR tests. The ministry has also demanded positive tested persons to be promptly isolated/ hospitalized and have their close contacts traced and tested without delay.
RT- PCR (Reverse transcription – Polymerase Chain Reaction) is the gold standard in testing for COVID-19 and other viral diseases like Ebola. A sample from the person’s blood, saliva or mucous is taken and nucleic acids are extracted and checked for the virus. It is the fastest and most reliable method for detecting viruses and other pathogens.
Officers in these states will be ordered to verify Covid negative reports from tests taken up to 72 hours in advance with respect to flights and 96 hours in advance with respect to trains before allowing passengers to depart for Delhi.
The central government has also deputed high-level multi disciplinary teams to the aforementioned states as well as Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir. The three-member multidisciplinary teams are headed by joint secretary-level officers in the Union Health Ministry. They will work closely with the state administration and ascertain the reasons for the rise in infections.
On Tuesday, Maharashtra recorded the highest number of 5210 new cases followed by Kerala at 2212 and Tamil Nadu at 449. Maharashtra and Kerala alone account for 75% of the country’s current active cases.
The death toll increased to 1,56,567 with 104 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed. The 104 new fatalities include 51 from Maharashtra, 14 from Kerala and 10 from Punjab.