India on Thursday said it expects its embassies in China, Japan and South Korea to follow Covid health protocols amid a spurt in Covid cases in these countries.
Answering media queries about whether officials of diplomatic missions are infected, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi said, “I cannot divulge about Individual cases of COVID in our embassies for privacy reasons. Depending on the local situation, we expect our missions in China, Japan and South Korea to follow Covid health protocols and local regulations.”
However, he informed that the Civil Aviation Authority announced new guidelines on RT-PCR tests.
All international passengers from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand to India will have to undergo mandatory RT-PCR tests before departure and upload a report on the Air Suvidha portal from January 1, 2023, said Union Health Ministry sources on Thursday.
This is in addition to the random 2 per cent tests of all international passengers on their arrival in India irrespective of the port of departure, stated the Union Health Ministry.
It said that the test should have been conducted within 72 hours of undertaking the journey to India.
This is being done in view of the evolving Covid-19 situation worldwide, particularly in the aforesaid countries.
Earlier on Wednesday, sources in the Union Health Ministry said the next 40 days will be crucial as India may see a surge in Covid cases in mid-January.
The sources added that the assessment was made after analysing the previous trends of the Covid surge in the country.
Amid the explosion in Covid cases in some countries, the operational readiness of healthcare facilities is under review in all states and Union Territories in anticipation of another wave.
China had its most difficult year under Xi’s rule as it reeled from his costly zero-Covid policy – from months of overzealous enforcement that crushed the economy and stoked historic public discontent, to a wholesale abandonment so abrupt that left a fragile health system scrambling to cope with an explosion of cases, reported CNN.
As an unprecedented wave of infections — and deaths — sweeps the China, many have questioned why after sacrificing so much under zero-Covid and waiting for so long to reopen, the government ultimately let the virus rip through a population with little prior warning or preparation, reported CNN.
The lockdown also wreaked havoc on the economy. China’s GDP shrunk by 2.6 per cent in the three months ending in June, while youth unemployment hit a record high of nearly 20 per cent.
In an apparent effort to appease protesters, some cities began to loosen restrictions. Then, on December 7, the central government announced a drastic overhaul of approach, rolling back lockdowns, testing and allowing residents to isolate at home – effectively abandoning zero-Covid, reported CNN.
While the easing of stifling restrictions is a long-awaited relief for many, the abruptness and haphazardness of it have caught an unprepared public off guard and left them to fend for themselves.
Over-the-counter cold and fever medicines, which had been restricted from purchase under ‘Zero Covid’, sold out instantly at pharmacies and on online shopping sites.
Huge queues were noticed outside fever clinics and hospital emergency rooms overflowed with patients, mostly elderly. Crematoriums are struggling to keep up with an influx of bodies, reported CNN.
Amid the chaos, the government has stopped reporting the bulk of the country’s Covid infections and narrowed its criteria of counting Covid deaths in a way that the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned would “very much underestimate the true death toll”. (ANI)
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.