Review Plans for Easing of International Travel Curbs: PM Modi

New Delhi: Amid mounting global concerns over new coronavirus strain’Omicron’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday stressed the need to be proactive and directed officials to review plans for easing of international travel restrictions in light of the “emerging new evidence”.

Modi was briefed by top health officials about ‘Omicron’, described by WHO as a “variant of concern”, with its characteristics and the impact seen in various countries.

Its implications for India were also discussed during the meeting, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement.

A World Health Organisation panel has named the new COVID strain ‘omicron’ and classified it as a highly transmissible variant of concern, the same category that includes the delta variant.

During the meeting which lasted for about two hours, Prime Minister Modi spoke about the need to be proactive in light of the new variant and urged people to be more cautious and take proper precautions like masking up and maintaining social distance, the PMO said.

The Prime Minister highlighted the need for monitoring all international arrivals, their testing as per guidelines, with a specific focus on countries identified ‘at risk’.

Modi’s directive to officials comes a day after the Civil Aviation Ministry announced the resumption of scheduled international flights to and from India from December 15 after 20 months of coronavirus-induced suspension.

India’s decision to resume scheduled international passenger flights has come at a time when various countries such as Britain, Germany, Singapore, Israel, France and Italy have restricted air travel from southern Africa where the cases of new coronavirus variant of serious health implications have been reported.

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