The pandemic has struck the world unexpectedly but the people rigorously fought back. The lockdowns, self-quarantines, and spreading awareness about the dos and don’ts helped greatly reduce the risk of COVID-19 and with the production of vaccines, people were finally relaxing. But the virus is also evolving with the delta and omicron variants. On November 8, the first instance of the omicron variant was found in a sample in Gauteng and has been rapidly spreading since.
The tourism and airlines industry is one of the most hit industries after the emergence of coronavirus and saw a silver lining in December 2021 with talks of ease in international flights from US to India but the spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19 has made the government take action once again.
Starting from 11th January, the revised and updated guideline for international arrivals and air travel in India, for slowing the fast-paced spread of the new variant of the coronavirus. The guidelines are mentioned below to make it easier for you to travel to India safely in a convenient manner.
Revised Guidelines for Travelers and International Arrivals in India
Many of the guidelines for international travelers planning their visit to India, before boarding, and during travel time mainly remain the same with stricter policies to monitor the spread of the new variant. A synopsis of these guidelines is shared below.
Planning for Travel- Travelers are to provide their proper documentation of eligibility with self-declaration forms, RT-PCR report not older than 72 hours, book slots for on arrival testing, and consent for self-quarantine as and when required.
Before Boarding- Only symptomless travelers will be allowed to board the flights after thermal screening and verification of their documents, self-declaration forms, and negative RT-PCR reports. All international travelers are advised to download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobiles. Airlines will share the Do’s and Don’ts along with tickets to the passengers.
During Travel- The flight crew will monitor that appropriate COVID behavior is being followed and announcements shall be made at all locations about COVID-19. Airlines are to ensure that proper announcements are made about the testing procedures on-arrival at the airports and people who need to undergo them.
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The important and revised On-Arrival guidelines are shared below for international travelers coming to India and Indians returning home. The passengers are advised to check whether their country falls under the at-risk countries or not on the Air Suvidha Portal and the Ministry of External Affairs websites.
On Arrival Instructions
De-boarding should be done with proper physical distancing and the health officials present will make sure of proper thermal screening and isolation of passengers found symptomatic. The self-declaration form is to be shown to the health officials. The criteria and guidelines for safe arrivals of passengers from at-risk countries are shared below.
Passengers from At-Risk Countries- Passengers with countries deemed as at-risk countries are required to follow these steps.
- Submit the sample for post-arrival and self-paid COVID-19 test and wait for a report before leaving the airport or taking a connecting flight.
- Passengers with negative reports are to take home-quantization for 7 days with a test again on the 8th day. This report is to be uploaded to the Air Suvidha Portal. And if negative then they are required to self-monitor their health for the next 7 days.
- If the report comes positive, their samples will be sent to the INSACOG laboratories for genomic testing and they will be managed at an isolation facility. The contacts of these cases will be strictly monitored by the concerned State Government and kept under home quarantine as per laid out terms.
These are the revised guidelines for travelers from at-risk countries and the guidelines for countries not falling under this category are easier as compared. A random 2% of travelers will undergo sample collection for COVID-19. Laboratories are to prioritize their samples and the passengers are to follow home quarantine for 7 days and undertake an RT-PCR test on the 8th day of their arrival in India. The rest of the instructions remain the same as those for at-risk countries.
Note: If the passengers under self or home isolation develop signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive on re-testing then they are required to report to the nearest health facility or call 1075 (National Helpline Number).
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