Gap In Monitoring People With Foreign Travel History: Centre To States On COVID-19

In a letter, Cabinet Secretary has asked all states/union territories to immediately put such individuals under surveillance to contain the spread of Covid-19.

New Delhi| More than 15 lakh foreign travellers came to India over the last two months but a “gap in monitoring” by states could “seriously jeopardize” India’s efforts to check the spread of coronavirus or COVID-19, the centre has said.

Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, the country’s top bureaucrat who is leading the COVID-19 crisis management group, wrote in a sharp letter yesterday to states that there was a “gap between the actual monitoring for COVID-19 and the total arrivals” from abroad.

He stressed that “concerted and sustained action” was needed urgently to ensure that passengers not on the radar are placed under surveillance immediately.

The centre had started screening international passengers at airport from January 18, the letter pointed out. “I have been informed that upto March 23, cumulatively, the Bureau of Immigration has shared details of more than 15 lakh incoming international passengers with states and Union Territories for monitoring COVID-19.

However, there appears to be a gap between the number of international passengers who need to be monitored by states and UTs and the actual number of passengers being monitored,” Mr Gauba said in his letter.

“This may seriously jeopardise our efforts to contain spread of Covid-19, given that many among the persons who have tested positive for Covid-19 so far in India have history of international travel.”

The central government initiated the screening of all international incoming passengers at airports with effect from 18 March to contain the spread of the lethal virus.

“It is important that they are put under close surveillance to prevent the spread of the epidemic,” Gauba wrote.

“I would, therefore, like to request you to ensure that concerted and sustained action is taken urgently to put such passengers under surveillance immediately as per MoHFW (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) guidelines.”

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Gauba has also instructed state governments to involve district authorities in the effort.

The Central and state governments have unleashed unprecedented and extraordinary measures to contain the spread of the fast-spreading coronavirus, which has already infected more than 700 people in the country and claimed at least 17 lives.

A nationwide lockdown was also announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday for 21 days.



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