Muscat: Indian nationals living in Oman and other countries who are returning to Tamil Nadu will need to follow the new testing procedures put in place by the government, as it attempts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
According to the Health and Family Welfare Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu, as part of the new guidelines, all returning passengers who have not undergone a COVID test at least four days prior to arrival in the state have to undergo mandatory testing.
All passengers who have shown symptoms of COVID-19, and have travelled overseas in the last 14 days must also get tested.
The guidelines also state that “all symptomatic heath care workers and frontline workers involved in the containment and mitigation of COVID-19, and all patients of severe acute respiratory infection” must be tested.This extends to all those who have come into contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. The tests for these people must be done within five to 10 days of them coming into contact with a COVID-positive individual.
All those who show symptoms of the disease within COVID hotspots or containment zones will also be tested, as well those who begin to show symptoms after returning from overseas. Tests for the latter need to be conducted within a week after they’ve shown signs of the coronavirus. “No emergency procedures (including deliveries) must be delayed for lack of tests,” the guidelines added. For all those returning or travelling to Tamil Nadu from overseas, thermal screening is mandatory.
“All the passengers have to undergo 14 days of home quarantine,” they said. “During the period, if the individual develops fever, cough or breathlessness, they shall visit a health facility. All passengers travelling to Tamil Nadu from other countries should have a negative RT-PCR test report. The test must be taken within 96 hours prior to arrival.
“As a transition arrangement, passengers coming through Vande Bharat flights alone will be provided RT-PCR facility in the airport on arrival, for a week,” the guidelines added. “All asymptomatic individuals will be sent for 14 days home quarantine. If the test result is positive, individuals will be asked to report to a medical facility for treatment.”
Returnees who test positive and present COVID symptoms will be taken to hospital isolation, while those who test positive and are asymptomatic will be admitted to a COVID care centre. However, people who test negative, but show signs of the coronavirus, will need to go to a doctor for further medical exams.
The Tamil Nadu government has also issued regulations for those who have very mild COVID symptoms, but are eligible for home quarantine.
“The person should be clinically assigned as a very mild case or presymptomatic case by the treating officer,” said the advisory. “Such cases should have the requisite facility at their residence for self-isolation, and also for quarantining family contacts. Availability of a well-ventilated single room, preferably with an attached or separate toilet is needed.
“A caregiver should be available to provide care on a 24x7 basis,” it added. “Only the assigned caregiver alone should access the patient by taking utmost precautions, such as wearing triple layer masks, maintaining hand hygiene, and social distancing. A communication link between the caregiver and hospital is a prerequisite for the entire duration of home isolation.”
Those cleared for home isolation must also sign an undertaking allowing follow-up visits by medical professionals, as well as download and keep the Aarogya Setu COVID monitoring app constantly enabled.