The TAC report on the issue said the clinical evaluation report will have to be given by a clinician. The SgRNA test is a specialised one that proves the individual is free of the virus. However, TAC members were hazy on where one could get such a test done.
The advisory committee took up the issue after senior IAS officers from the secretariat brought to the attention of panel members the plight of a couple of international flyers who were unable to make it to Bengaluru as they had continued to test positive for Covid-19, despite completely recovering from the viral infection.
“People who want to travel to India cannot even buy air tickets if they continue to test positive,” said a TAC member. “The positive test is attributed to remnants of the virus still present in the body and the results of these RT-PCR tests are considered false positives. These people have no symptoms, nor can they infect others since they are not carriers of the virus. Such cases are rarely seen, perhaps a couple once in three months. In this particular case, two passengers reached out to higher authorities who brought it to our attention.”
After detailed discussions on the issue at their meeting on October 28, TAC members opined that such rare cases should not be considered a dilution of the current standard operating procedure (SOP).
“However, such individuals who have recovered from Covid but continue to test positive may be permitted to travel after complying with the following criteria: A clinical evaluation report from a physician declaring the person asymptomatic and has recovered from Covid-19; and a subgenomic RNA (SgRNA) test wherever available should be done and the result should be negative,” reads the TAC report submitted to the government.
A TAC member said the SgRNA test is an indicator of virus replication. “Though SgRNA was suggested, it is still in research mode in India. We don’t know where it is being done abroad or where one can get it done,” the member said.
Given that such cases are rare, another member said, “In such cases, a clinical evaluation is done to ensure that they have completely recovered.”
TOI could not ascertain if there were any people in Karnataka who are unable to fly out because they continue to test positive for Covid-19 despite completely recovering from the viral disease.
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