The potential vaccine-resistant virus strains identified in different countries across the world and the spike in daily COVID-19 cases in India over the past few days only stress the fact that we cannot breathe a sigh of relief yet. Such being the case, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released a set of new guidelines for air travel, which we have highlighted in this article for your reference. These rules for international arrivals in India will come into effect from 11:59 pm (IST) today, i.e., 22 February 2021, and will remain in force until further orders.
New guidelines for air travel: Applicable for all international travelers excepting those coming/ transiting through flights originating from UK, Europe, and the Middle East
- All international passengers flying to India must submit a self-declaration form on the Air Suvidha portal along with a negative RT-PCR test report and a declaration vouching for the authenticity of the report.
- They also need to give an undertaking that they would abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority concerning quarantine requirements.
- The RT-PCR report is valid if the test is conducted within 72 hours of undertaking the journey.
- Only asymptomatic travelers who have submitted self-declaration and a valid RT-PCR report online will be allowed to board the international flight to India.
- Passengers traveling to India due to death in the family can seek exemption from this mandatory requirement by applying online on the Air Suvidha portal (at least 72 hours before scheduled travel). Those who are granted exemption will be allowed to proceed home after taking samples for testing at the entry airport.
- Travelers are required to show the online self-declaration to the airport health staff on arrival.
- Passengers who received approval for exemption from pre-arrival RT-PCR testing need to present the online proof of communication to the respective State counters, post which they’ll be prioritized for sample collection and permitted to exit the airport.
- These passengers are nonetheless required to self-monitor their health for 14 days if the report of the sample taken at the airport comes out negative. They’ll also be provided with all the necessary contact numbers so they can call the State/National Call Centers in case they develop symptoms during self-monitoring of their health.
- All the other passengers who uploaded RT-PCR negative report on the portal will be allowed to exit the airport or take the transit flights. They are also required to self-monitor their health for 14 days, and will also be provided with the contact list.
New guidelines for air travel: Rules applicable for international travelers coming/transiting through flights originating from UK, Europe, and the Middle East
- All international travelers coming/transiting through flights originating from UK, Europe, and the Middle East must submit a self-declaration form, a negative RT-PCR certificate, and also declare their travel history of the past 14 days on the Air Suvidha portal. They must specify in the self-declaration form if they are taking connecting flights to their final destination, based on which they’ll be classified into Transiting and Non-transiting travelers.
- These travelers must mandatorily undergo confirmatory molecular tests (self-paid) at the entry airport.
- Both transiting and non-transiting travelers from Europe and the Middle East may exit the airport or take the connecting flight after giving samples. The concerned State authorities/airport operators will share the test report with them. Those who tested negative will be advised to monitor their health for 14 days and those who tested positive for the virus will undergo treatment as per standard health protocol.
New guidelines for air travel: Additional rules for international travelers from Brazil, South Africa, and UK.
- Non-transiting passengers from Brazil, South Africa and UK (segregation will be done during the flight or while disembarking) may leave the airport after giving the sample. The concerned State authorities/airport operators will inform them of the test result. Those who tested negative will again be tested after 7 days of quarantine. If found negative, they will be advised to monitor their health for 7 more days.
- Transiting passengers from Brazil, South Africa, and UK will be allowed to take the connecting domestic flight only if their test result comes out negative (the result may take 6-8 hours, and the airports will take care of necessary arrangements for passengers waiting for their confirmatory molecular test as well as test results).
- Once these transiting passengers reach home, they need to quarantine themselves for 7 days, after which they’ll be tested again. If found negative, they will be advised to monitor their health for 7 more days.
- All the travelers from Brazil, South Africa, and UK who test positive for the virus (either at the airport or during quarantine) will be treated as per standard health protocol.