UK flyers show Covid antibody and vax certificates, seek quarantine exemption | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Passengers flying in from the United Kingdom are now seeking exemption from the mandatory home quarantine of 14 days, saying they are here for short visits, with some even furnishing Covid-antibody or vaccination certificates or both.
The quarantine precautions were put in place following fears of the UK variant of SARS-CoV2, which is known for faster transmission and is being blamed for a spike in cases in that country.
Faced with multiple exemption requests, the state health department has sought the guidance of the technical advisory committee. A meeting was held in this regard on Thursday. BBMP said irrespective of certificates produced, state and central directives must be followed.
‘UK returnees’ request must be considered’
Public health experts said since the passengers are producing antibody or vaccination certificates, showing they are not a threat, their request must be considered. Since November 25, when the central government issued a new guideline to control the spread of the UK variant, passengers returning from the UK are being made to undergo Covid RT-PCR test on arrival. Those testing negative are told to quarantine themselves at home for 14 days while those testing positive are taken to a government Covid hospital.
Since November 25, 10,218 passengers from the UK have landed in Karnataka and of them, 59 tested positive for Covid. Twenty-six primary contacts of those infected were found infected. On analysing the genomic sequencing of their samples at Nimhans, 21 have been found to be infected with the UK variant. Authorities say steps taken to isolate the patients at the earliest have helped in controlling the spread. A majority of the UK returnees are in Bengaluru. “We are in a tricky situation. Some of the returnees have come to see their parents. Some have come for marriage ceremonies. When they are vaccinated, and have certificates showing that they have Covid antibodies, we need to look into the matter,” said a public health expert. “The government’s measures for strict home quarantine was to ensure no spread of the new variant in India.”
BBMP commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said he was not aware of passengers making exemption requests. “Whether they carry Covidnegative certificate, or Covid vaccination report, they have to follow the state and central government directives,” he said. Health commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey said he would look into the matter.

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Sagar Biswas

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