The Central government on Friday announced that all international travellers flying to India will have to undergo seven days of mandatory home quarantine starting 11 January 2022. The official notification by the Centre informed that the travellers from 'at-risk' countries will need to follow additional measures on arrival in the country, which also includes post-arrival testing. These passengers will be tested for COVID-19 at the airport before being quarantined and will have to take an RT-PCR test on the 8th day of their arrival. As of now, 19 countries have been put into the 'at-risk' category.
As of now, the list includes countries in Europe including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Ghana, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Hong Kong, Israel, Congo, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia, Zambia.
The list of the 'at-risk' countries is being updated regularly based on the prevalent epidemiological situation of COVID-19 in these countries including circulation of Variants of Concern.
The Centre has also ordered submission of a self-declaration form for all passengers on the online Air Suvidha portal before their scheduled travel date, including the last 14 days travel details. In addition to this, a negative RT-PCR test conducted within 72 hrs prior to their journey has been made mandatory.
Guidelines for passengers flying in from ‘at-risk’ countries
- The passengers at the airport will have to submit a sample for post-arrival COVID-19 test following which they will be quarantined for 7 days.
- Passengers are supposed to take an RT-PCR test on the eight day after arrival and self-monitor their health for the next seven days if tested negative.
- Travelers shall also be required to upload results of repeat RT-PCR test for COVID-19 done on 8th day on Air Suvidha portal, which will be monitored by their respective states/UTs.
- Travellers testing positive shall be managed at an isolation facility and their samples should be further sent for genomic testing at INSACOG laboratory network.
“The contacts of such positive cases should be kept under home quarantine monitored strictly by the concerned State Government as per laid down protocol”, the notification read.
Guidelines for passengers from countries other than ‘at-risk’ ones
- A sub-section (2% of the total flight passengers) shall undergo post-arrival testing at random at the airport on arrival.
- These 2% of such travellers in each flight shall be identified by the concerned airlines (preferably from different countries).
- Laboratories shall prioritize testing of samples from such travellers and all travellers (including those 2% who were selected for random testing on arrival and were found negative) will undergo home quarantine for 7 days and shall undertake RT-PCR test on the 8th day of arrival in India.
- The rest of the protocols such as self-monitoring for next seven days, uploading RT-PCR test on the Air Suvidha portal and sample testing at INSACOG laboratory network remains the same.
Those arriving via sea ports have been directed to follow the same protocols and submit the self-declaration form to the concerned authorities of the Government of India following their arrival. Besides, children under 5 years of age have been exempted from both pre- and post-arrival testing, however, tests will be conducted if they are found symptomatic for COVID-19 on arrival or during the home quarantine period.
Guidelines for travellers before boarding flights
- Passengers originating or transiting from at-risk countries shall be informed by the airlines that they will undergo post arrival testing, quarantine if tested negative, stringent isolation protocols if tested positive.
- Do’s and Don'ts shall be provided along with ticket to the travellers by the airlines/agencies concerned.
- Airlines to allow boarding by only those passengers who have filled in all the information in the Self Declaration Form on the Air Suvidha portal and uploaded the negative RT-PCR test report.
- At the time of boarding the flight, only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board after thermal screening.
- All passengers shall be advised to download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices.
Guidelines for travellers during their travel
- In-flight announcement about COVID-19 including precautionary measures to be followed shall be made at airports and in flights and during transit.
- During in-flight crew shall ensure that COVID appropriate behaviour is followed at all times.
- If any passenger reports symptoms of COVID-19 during flight, he/she shall be isolated as per protocol.
- Proper in-flight announcements should be made by the airlines regarding the testing requirements and people who need to undergo such testing to avoid any congestion at the arrival airports.