Vijayawada: Health experts have suggested to the state government to move all international travellers arriving home in quarantine for a few days, irrespective of their Covid-19 status, to prevent the highly infectious Omicron variant of the Coronavirus from spreading.
They suggested that the international arrivals be quarantined at airports and seaports for a period ranging from seven to 14 days.
Experts said home isolation is not effective for the international travellers as by the time they reach their homes they would have infected others.
Though AP’s Omicron tally has remained static at 17 since December 30, a majority of those infected were from countries like the USA, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Kuwait, UK, South Africa, Kenya, Ireland and others. AP registered its first case of Omicron on December 12.
The experts recalled how the government had ensured that all international travellers underwent quarantine upon arrival at their own expense during the first wave of Covid-19.
NTR University of Health Sciences Vice Chancellor Dr P. Syama Prasad said, “The state government should subject all international passengers to undergo quarantine for one or two weeks at the airport itself so that the chance of spread of Omicron will be curbed at least to some extent as we have seen how the new variant spread in our state through the international arrivals and their contacts.”
IMA Medical Students Network chairman Dr K.S. Karuna Murthy said, “The best option to curb the spread of Omicron is to subject all international arrivals to quarantine at airports and seaports so that its spread will be stopped as our state recorded its first case of Omicron from a traveller from Ireland.”
The experts say given the high infectivity and mild symptoms of the Omicron variant, the experimental drug cocktail of the second wave, costing Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000, may not work.
They say that as AP’s financial status is very precarious and the government is spending a lot of money on Covid-19 testing, vaccination and treatment. Because of this, international travellers should be made to bear the expenses of their quarantine.
IMA AP Branch president Dr C. Sriniva Raju said, “As we are in the initial stage of spread of Omicron mainly from international travellers and their contacts, quarantine is the best option to adopt for such travellers at their expense to curb its spread from them.”