Tamil Nadu issues new COVID-19 testing guidelines for incoming travellers amid spike in cases

Written By: Sidharth MP WION
Chennai Published: May 14, 2020, 07.03 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in India Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

So far, nine persons who had landed in Chennai via "Vande Bharat" repatriation flights have tested positive for COVID-19

In view of the rising coronavirus cases in Tamil Nadu with total of 9,674 cases which is the second-highest in India after Maharashtra, the state government has issued a new set of guidelines for testing incoming travelers. 

Considering the risk of increased transmission given the high number of inter-state, inter-district travelers (based on government issued e-passes) and ongoing repatriation of Indian nationals from foreign countries, the state government has issued guidelines for testing incoming travelers. 

So far, nine persons who had landed in Chennai via "Vande Bharat" repatriation flights have tested positive for COVID-19.


Guidelines for incoming travelers:

Persons from Other Countries:

All persons to be tested on arrival and if tested positive the individual/s would be admitted in a hospital. In case of a negative result, they will be kept in government-provided institutional quarantine/hotels (on a paid-basis).

A follow-up test would be taken after the initial 7-day quarantine, and if that result is also found negative the person/s can be sent for home quarantine for the next 14 days. 


Persons from Other States/Union Territories: 

Tests will be conducted on all persons coming into Tamil Nadu from all states and Union territories. In case of a positive result they would be admitted in hospitals.

In case of a negative result, the passengers would have to be under government-provided institutional quarantine facility for 7days (for persons coming from hotspot states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi).

After seven days if they display no symptoms, they can be sent for home quarantine for seven days, or they can continue in government quarantine if they do not have facilities at home to be under quarantine. 

Persons from non-hotspot states who test negative may be sent into a 14-day home quarantine or institutional quarantine (in case facilities are not available at home).

Persons traveling between Tamil Nadu’s districts: 

Testing to be done only for those coming with symptoms, all individuals to undergo home quarantine for 14 days

Exemptions: 

Terminally ill patients, individuals requiring immediate medical attention in a hospital. 

Persons who are due to attend the funeral and ritual associated with death of an immediate family member

Pregnant women 

Elderly persons over the age of 75 years and requiring assistance 

All the above categories claiming medical emergency will be subjected to check up by a medical team to confirm the emergency. Relaxation will not be given for any other category. Persons who seek exemption in the above categories, must submit full detail along with their representation in advance to concerned authorities. 

Tamil Nadu COVID-19 data so far: 

The mortality rate in Tamil Nadu is among the lowest in the country at about 0.67 per cent (66 deaths in 9674 cases). While there is a high rate of infection in the state, the significant rate of testing in Tamil Nadu must also be taken into account. 

By April 1, the state had tested merely 2,700 odd samples in total which had resulted in criticism over under-reportage and fears of a very poor testing rate. As on May, the state has tested over 2.91 lakh samples, with over 10,000 tests being conducted only a daily basis in recent times. 

Such a remarkable increase in testing can be owed to the rapid facilities across the state over the last one month. The testing facilities have gone up from 17 facilities on April 1 to 56 (38 government and 18 private) testing facilities.

This three-fold increase in testing rate is also augmented by the state’s well developed public health infrastructure which has been able to maintain an encouraging 23.1 per cent (2240/9674) recovery rate for COVID-19 patients.

The state currently has recorded a total of 9674 coronavirus cases, of which 7,365 are active cases. 4,835 of the total active cases are in capital Chennai alone.

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