Fresh SOP for Int’l Fliers as New Covid Strains Surface in India; Maha Reports Highest One-Day Count in ’21

The government on Wednesday issued new guidelines for international arrivals amid the spread of mutant variants of coronavirus in many countries. The new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will come into effect from 23.59 hours on February 22 till further orders.

In the context of spread of mutant variant of SARS-CoV-2 in many countries, the civil aviation ministry in consultation with the health and family welfare ministry has issued new guidelines for international arrivals, according to an official release.

All international travelers except those coming through flights originating from United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East will be required to submit a self-declaration form on the online ‘Air Suvidha’ portal before the scheduled travel.

They would also need to upload a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test report. This test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey.

Each passenger shall also submit a declaration with respect to the authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution, if found otherwise, “the guidelines said.

The guidelines were issued as Maharashtra reported 4,787 fresh cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the highest one-day count this year, the state health department said. The state’s COVID-19 tally has now risen to 20,76,093, the department said in a statement.

Among the districts, Amravati reported the highest rise in a day, from 82 on Tuesday to 230 on Wednesday. The state reported the 40 deaths due to COVID-19, taking the toll to 51,631, it said.

Also, 3,853 patients were discharged from hospitals during the day, taking the recovery tally to 19,85,261, the statement said. With this, the state now has 38,013 active cases, he said.

This is the eighth straight day when the state has reported more than 3,000 cases in a day, indicating a steady rise in infections as compared to the previous few weeks. The recent spurt in cases led Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to warn on Tuesday that if COVID-19 norms are not followed, people should be prepared for a fresh round of strict lockdown.

The case fatality rate in the state stood at 2.49 percent, the department said. The state reported 4,092 cases on February 14 (then highest in 39 days) and since then daily cases were hovering above 3,000. However, the state on Wednesday reported 4,787 cases, an official said.

On Tuesday, the state had registered 3,663 cases, and the fresh tally showed a rise of 1,124 infections during the last 24 hours. Mumbai city once again reported the highest cases in the state at 721.

“With this, the coronavirus tally of the Mumbai division (consisting of the metropolis and its satellite towns), jumped by 1,237, taking the cumulative count to 7,07,540. With 12 more deaths (3 of them in Mumbai), the toll in the division reached 19,724, the official said. Mumbai’s COVID-19 death toll stood at 11,428.

The Mumbai division had reported 862 cases on Tuesday. The Nashik division’s cumulative tally reached 2,82,382, while the death toll stood at 5,184.

The Pune division also reported a surge in COVID-19 cases – from 749 on Tuesday to 1,013 today. This has taken the division’s tally to 5,11,171 and increased the death toll to 11,683, the official said. The Kolhapur division’s tally now stood at 1,18,890, while the fatality count was 4,049. The Aurangabad division has reported 76,737 cases and 2,016 deaths so far, he said.

The COVID-19 tally in the Latur division stood at 84,000 and the death toll at 2,484. The Akola Municipal Corporation, which had reported 67 cases under its areas on Tuesday, recorded 105 cases on Wednesday. Similar, cases in Amravati rose from 82 on Tuesday to 230 on Wednesday, the official said.

The Nagpur division has reported 2,14,981 cases and 4,735 deaths till now. Out of the 40 deaths, 13 occurred in the last 48 hours, 15 in the last week and the remaining 12 were from the period before last week but were added to the fatality count now, the official said.

With 58,824 tests conducted on Wednesday, the state has carried out 1,54,55,268 tests so far. As many as 1,95,704 people are in home quarantine, while1,664 people are in institutional quarantine.

Maharashtra’s COVID-19 figures are as follows: Positive cases – 20,76,093; new cases – 4,787; death toll – 51,631; discharged – 19,85,261; active cases – 38,013; people tested so far – 1,54,55,268.

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