Pressure from Goa lawmakers to discharge UK returnees from isolation facilities: Health Minister

Panaji, Jan 2 : Without taking names, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Saturday slammed Goa MLAs and Ministers for exerting pressure on health department officials and government doctors to prematurely discharge UK returnees from institutional isolation facilities.

Rane said that he had given specific instructions to senior health department officials, including Health Secretary Amit Satija, to strictly follow the SOPs devised for the 979 persons who are in isolation or quarantine facilities after their return from the UK, before the flight ban came into force.

"There is a lot of pressure to release them early.

Any amount of pressure put on the system will not work. If MLAs or Ministers call health officials to discharge any of the UK returnees from institutional isolation, it will not work.

Even if I make such a call to violate our SOP, it should not be accepted," Rane told reporters in presence of Health Secretary Satija.

38 out of the 979 passengers who travelled from the United Kingdom from December 9 till the midnight of December 22, when India's banned flights from the European country, have tested positive for Covid-19, Rane said.

The samples of the persons who have tested positive have been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune, for traces of the new strain of coronavirus, which has spread rapidly in the UK, causing the government to enforce a shutdown.

Out of the samples of the 38 persons which have been sent to Pune, 12 swabs have tested negative for the new Covid-19 strain, Rane also said.

"Some reports are still pending," he said.

According to Goa government protocol, passengers returning from the UK are first kept in institutional insolation until their test reports are declared.

If a person tests negative, then they have to follow up with 17 days in home isolation.



Source: IANS