Health officials face tough task to trace air travelers with fake addresses

A person arrived from Ireland with Covid negative certificate but tested Covid positive subsequently

Vijayawada: The health authorities in Andhra Pradesh are facing a tough task to trace both the international/domestic travelers to keep informed about their health status. Several of them are giving fake addresses and mobile phone numbers at a time when the highly infectious Covid19 variant Omicron o spreading across the globe.

At present, the state health authorities are following the guidelines issued by the Centre to conduct Covid tests on all incoming international travelers from high risk nations and two per cent of the travelers from no-risk nations at the airports. This is in addition to the conduct of Covid test on domestic travelers.

The health authorities have set up camps at the airports and are conducting RT-PCR tests on travelers based on symptoms and are asking for submission of a self-declaration form on their Covid status along with their residential address and mobile phone number. This is in order to track them and keep informed about their health status.

However, several international/domestic travelers are submitting fake addresses and mobile numbers while some of them are switching off their mobile phones after they exit from the airports. Health personnel are finding it a tough task to locate such travelers.

Though the health authorities are getting details of travelers like name, date of birth, gender, passport number, date of arrival, country of origin, first airport of entry, street, village, house number, mandal, division, contact number, alternate contact number, PHC/UPHC, RT-PCR test status and other details, they are unable to trace some of them. Their addresses are either wrong or fake or untraceable, the numbers are wrong, and mobile phones are switched off or are not responding.

In the first case of Omicron in AP, a person arrived from Ireland with Covid negative certificate but tested Covid positive subsequently. The genome sequencing test proved that he carried the new variant. Such people may spread the virus to family members and contacts once the incubation period for the virus is over.

To solve the problem of fake or wrong addresses and mobile numbers vis-à-vis air traveller, the airport authorities suggest attaching a copy of passport or aadhar to the self-declaration form being submitted by these passengers at the airports to the health authorities.

A PHC medical officer said, “Out of eight names of travelers given in a day, we are able to track only one so far. In case we are able to reach some travelers over phone, many are losing their cool and asking us whether we don’t have any other work.”

Moreover, as several air passengers, coming out of airports, are traveling by public transport like train and buses and other modes, there is also a chance of spread of the virus unless they are thoroughly checked for the virus before they are allowed to continue their journey.

An additional DMHO said, “It is true that some air travelers are giving wrong addresses and mobile phone numbers and there is a need to solve them. However, we are taking forms from travelers to undergo home isolation and in case they violate it, we are even lodging police complaints against such persons.”

Next Story