The news of a new strain of coronavirus being observed in the UK and other countries in Europe has seen many countries restricting flights from the UK. India has also issued guidelines to this effect, and Karnataka's Health Minister K Sudhakar confirmed that the state would act on the centre's decisions.
"In the wake of emergence of new variant of corona virus in the UK, held a meeting with Technical Advisory Committee of Health and Family Welfare Department. Initial studies in the UK suggest that the virus may be more contagious than the present one but not more virulent," Mr Sudhakar tweeted.
In order to contain the spread of the new variant of coronavirus, the centre has suspended flights to and from the UK from Tuesday midnight till December 31. As a precautionary measure, the Karnataka government has mandated seven-day home quarantine for travellers from the UK, Denmark and Netherlands.
"Travellers who have arrived in the state from these three countries in the last 14 days will be traced within the next 24 hours and subjected to RT-PCR test. While there is no need to panic I urge people to continue to follow all precautionary measures and stay safe," the Karnataka Health Minister said.
After the meeting, the minister spoke told reporters, "Today, we have received a letter from the government of India to take some precautions at the airport. Those who have travelled from the UK in particular through any portal - Dubai, Delhi, any other place - those who have travelled to Bengaluru and Karnataka in the last 14 days, we want to track them. And we request them to undergo RT-PCR test."
"The (new strain of) virus can spread very quickly, but it is not more virulent than the existing strain. So to that extent we are relieved. SOPs do not change as the virus has not changed much. The only difference is it has the capacity to spread quickly," Mr Sudhakar said.
On tracking the passengers, Mr Sudhakar said, "We have Aptamitra in place and we will have facilities at the airport to screen international passengers from these countries."
Karnataka's daily numbers of new cases is lower now than in previous months, but its total number of cases is over 9 lakh.
On Monday, 291 and 296 people arrived on British Airways and Air India flights, respectively. 136 of them have not submitted Covid negative test report.