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The random Covid testing of international arriving passengers started from Saturday.

In its guidelines released on Friday, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said that airlines’ crew members will have to bring such identified passengers to the testing facility at the airport.

Amid a surge in Covid cases in China and some other parts of the world, the Centre has decided to subject 2 per cent of the total passengers arriving on international flights to random test from Saturday.

“The airport operators would create necessary infrastructure to facilitate random testing of international arriving passengers at their respective airports,” the ministry said in a statement.

Airlines concerned will identify such travellers on each flight, preferably from different countries. Such travellers can leave the airport after giving the samples.

Meanwhile, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to state and union territorial health secretaries on Saturday about holding mock drills on December 27 at all health institutions (including recognised COVID-dedicated health facilities) across the country.

“Taking note of the surge in COVID-19 trajectory in many countries around the world, it is necessary that in all States/UTS requisite public health measures are put in place to meet any exigencies. Preparedness of Covid health facilities is crucial to ensure that States/Districts are in a state of readiness to meet the increase in clinical care needs due to any spurt in cases,” the letter read. 

The letter advised that the drill’s main focus be on geographically representative availability of health facilities – covering all districts, bed capacities, optimal availability of human resources, human resource capacity, referral services, testing capacities, and medical oxygen availability. 

Meanwhile, the government approved Bharat Biotech’s intranasal vaccine as a booster dose for those aged 18 years and above. The two-drop needle-free nasal vaccine is likely to be introduced on the Co-WIN platform from Friday evening and eligible people can book their shot from the mobile application or website. The nasal vaccine will be available only at private hospitals as of now.

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