16 Evacuees from Afghanistan Test COVID-19 Positive

16 Evacuees from Afghanistan Test COVID-19 Positive
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16 out of 78 evacuees who reached India have tested positive for COVID-19. The infected evacuees also include the three Sikhs who brought back with them Guru Granth Sahib from several Gurudwaras in Afghanistan.

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri who was at the Delhi airport to receive Sikhs also came in contact of the infected people.

All of them were asymptotic patients.

India has been running special flights on a daily basis to evacuate its nationals from war-ravaged Afghanistan.

The mandatory quarantine was initiated as per a guideline issued by the Health Ministry on August 23. This guideline makes it mandatory for those arriving in India from Afghanistan to remain in institutional quarantine for at least 14 days from the day of arrival at the Chhawla camp in Najafgarh.

Given the situation in Afghanistan, there has been an exemption from mandatory pre-boarding RT-PCTR testing, which is usually compulsory for international travellers.

"As the COVID-19 immunization status of these individuals is unknown, and the exact extent of COVID-19 transmission (including circulation of variants) in Afghanistan is unclear at present, as a matter of abundant precaution, it has been decided that the arriving persons shall undergo a mandatory minimum 14 days' institutional quarantine at Sector Headquarters Logistic and Communications, Indo Tibetan Border Police, Chhawla Camp," the Union Health Ministry's office memorandum said.

"The Government of India is undertaking emergency evacuation of people from Afghanistan to India," the Health Ministry said.

The office memorandum added, "The ITBP shall make the requisite arrangements for arranging transportation of passengers from the airport to Chawala camp, Najafgarh."

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