Amritsar, December 24
As many as 216 people who arrived here from the UK in a December 22 flight will be institutionally quarantined as they might have come in contact with seven of their fellow passengers and a crew member who tested COVID-19 positive on arrival, health officials said on Thursday.
They are from different places, including Amritsar, and are being taken from their homes to institutional quarantine centres, they said.
The Air India flight from London had arrived at Amritsar’s Sri Guru Ramdas Jee International Airport on Tuesday with 250 passengers and 22 crew members, and eight people tested positive for the coronavirus.
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The health officials said all of them had undergone the RT-PCR test on Tuesday and were found negative, except eight, but the step to institutionally quarantine the 216 people has been taken to ensure maximum safety as per Punjab government guidelines.
India has suspended all passenger flights from the UK till December 31 in the wake of the emergence of a rapid-spreading mutated variant of the coronavirus there. Moreover, passengers coming from the UK through flights till Tuesday midnight were tested for COVID-19 on arrival at airports.
Civil Surgeon Dr Ravinder Singh Sethi said on Thursday, “Eight passengers (including a crew member) on their arrival had tested positive for the coronavirus after RT-PCR tests. Later, they were immediately shifted to a private hospital here as per their choice”.
Their samples have been sent for further tests to a Pune laboratory, he said.
“Later the administration found that as many as 216 passengers could have come in contact with the eight positive passengers (including a crew member), and now we have decided to quarantine them institutionally following guidelines from the Punjab government,” he said.
He also said that “10 passengers of the 216 are from Amritsar and they are being taken to quarantine centres from their houses today”.
“They are being sent to a private hotel where they would complete their quarantine period as per the state government’s guidelines,” Sethi said.
He said the “rest of the passengers who are from different districts are also being taken from their houses and in this regard deputy commissioners and civil surgeons of these districts have been informed and this process is being done on war footing level”.
Earlier, these UK return passengers who tested negative on December 22, were allowed to proceed on their journey to their home towns, Sethi said.
Director of the Fortis Hospital here, Dr H P Singh, said, “The eight patients who were admitted here, one nine-year-old child was shifted to his home district as requested by the parents, and the administration agreed to it.”
Civil Surgeon Sethi said, “The eight were admitted to the private hospital as per their choice. Now, the administration will send them to their respective home town’s civil hospital in government ambulances with security, if they want to go”. PTI