India's new rules for international arrivals amid omicron concerns
- All passengers must submit 14-day travel history and negative RT-PCR results.
- Passengers from ‘at-risk’ countries must take RT-PCR test upon arrival.
- Passengers from countries not ‘at-risk’ have to self-monitor for 14 days after arrival.
India has a new set of rules for international travellers, effective from December 1, 2021 (0.01 hours IST). The revision from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare comes as a response to the emerging COVID-19 omicron variant, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has labelled as a “variant of concern”.
Accordingly, the Union Health Ministry has identified the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Israel as ‘at-risk’ countries.
Here are the key points to note, after their latest update.
1. Passengers planning to travel to India must submit a self-declaration form on the Air Suvidha Portal, online, before their scheduled travel dates. Further, they must submit their last 14 days travel details.
2. They must upload a negative RT-PCR report on the portal before the journey. The test must be conducted within 72 hours before travel. Children under 5 are exempted from pre- and post-arrival testing. However, if they show COVID-19 symptoms during home quarantine, they shall be tested and treated as per current protocols.
3. Travellers from at-risk countries must undertake an RT-PCR test, post-arrival. They must wait at the airport until the results.
4. If they test negative, they are quarantined for seven days. On the eighth day, they will be retested. If results are negative, travellers must self-monitor for another seven days.
5. In the event of positive results, the sample will be sent to the INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium) laboratory network, for genomic testing. Meanwhile, these passengers will follow stringent isolation protocols.
6. Travelers from countries not ‘at-risk’ can leave the airport but must self-monitor for 14 days after arrival.
7. 5% of total flight passengers will be tested at random upon arrival to the airport.
While the omicron variant has not been detected in India yet, the world has taken certain steps to try and stop the spread as far as possible. Notably, the US has banned travel for foreigners across South Africa, while countries like Morocco, Japan, and Israel have banned entry for all foreigners.