Indian airports saw 15.79 mn passengers in December.ht(MINT_PRINT)
Indian airports saw 15.79 mn passengers in December.ht(MINT_PRINT)

Travelling to India? Here are do’s, don’ts for international arrivals from today

The central government has also allowed states to consider additional requirements with regards to testing, quarantine and isolation for international travellers as per their risk assessment.
By hindustantimes.com, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 22, 2021 08:13 AM IST

The Union ministry of health and family welfare last week issued a fresh set of guidelines for international flyers travelling to India amid increasing evidence that mutant variants of the coronavirus are in circulation in several countries. 

So far, three SARSCoV-2 variants —(i) UK Variant [VOC 202012/01 (B.1.1.7)] (ii) South Africa variant [501Y.V2 (B.1.351)] and (iii) Brazil variant [P.1 (P.1)]—have been detected in 86, 44 and 15 countries respectively. All three variants have demonstrated increased transmissibility, as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The central government has also allowed states to consider additional requirements with regards to testing, quarantine and isolation for international travellers as per their risk assessment.

Here’s the fresh set of guidelines applicable from today for all international travellers coming to India:

  1. All travellers, except those coming through flights originating from the United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East, submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal (www.newdelhiairport.in) before the scheduled travel and must upload a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR report. This test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey
  2. They should also give an undertaking on the portal or to the ministry of civil aviation, through concerned airlines before they are allowed to undertake the journey that they would abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority to undergo home quarantine/ self-monitoring of their health for 14 days. 
  3. Arrival in India without a negative report shall be allowed only for those travelling to India in the exigency of death in the family. If they wish to seek such exemption, they shall apply to the online portal (www.newdelhiairport.in) at least 72 hours before boarding following which the government will take the call and that would be final. 
  4. At the time of boarding the flight, only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board after the thermal screening. All possible measures need to be taken to ensure physical distancing during boarding and deboarding. Suitable precautionary measures such as environmental sanitation and disinfection shall be ensured at the airports.
  5. All passengers have been advised to download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile phones.
  6. While onboard the flight, passengers, airline staff and crew need to take precautionary measures such as wearing masks, environmental hygiene, respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene etc.
  7. At the time of arrival, thermal screening would be carried out in respect of all the passengers by the health officials present at the airport. The self-declaration form filled online shall be shown to the airport health staff and the passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to a medical facility as per health protocol. 
  8. All other passengers who have uploaded RT-PCR negative certificates on Air Suvidha portal will be allowed to leave the airport/ take transit flights and will be required to undertake self-monitoring of their health for 14 days.
  9. All the passengers will be provided with a list of the national and state-level surveillance officers and the respective call centre numbers so that they can inform in case they develop symptoms at any time during the quarantine or self-monitoring.
  10. International travellers arriving through seaports or land ports will also have to undergo the same protocol, except that facility for online registration is not available for such passengers currently. They need to submit the self-declaration form to the concerned authorities of the government at seaports or land ports on arrival. 

Those coming from the United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East need to keep in mind the following additional SOPs:

  1. Passengers should submit a self-declaration form (SDF) for Covid-19 on the online Air Suvidha portal (www.newdelhiairport.in) before the scheduled travel and are required to declare their travel history of the past 14 days. While filling the SDF, apart from providing all other information required in the SDF, passengers need to select: (a) whether they plan to disembark at the arrival airport or take further flights to reach their final destination in India. (b) based on this selection, the receipt of SDF (dispatched online to the transiting travellers) will display “T” (Transit) (c) The passengers will need to display this receipt to state authority or government officials at the airport for segregation.
  2. Those transit travellers from the UK, Brazil and South Africa who are found negative on testing at the airport shall be allowed to take their connecting flights and would be advised quarantine at home for seven days. These travellers shall be tested after seven days and if negative, released from quarantine, and continue to monitor their health for a further seven days.
  3. Keeping in mind the testing requirements for passengers from the UK, Brazil and South Africa, who have to take connecting flights, airlines should keep the passengers informed about the need for the transit time of a minimum of six to eight hours at the entry airport (in India) while booking the tickets for connecting flights. 
  4. Airlines should identify the international travellers arriving from or transiting through the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa (during the past 14 days) and segregate them in-flight or while disembarking to facilitate the authorities to follow the due protocol in respect of these travellers. 
  5. All the travellers arriving from or transiting through flights originating in the United Kingdom, Europe or the Middle East shall be mandatorily subjected to self-paid confirmatory molecular tests on arrival at the Indian airports concerned. 
  6. An entry made in the SDF regarding telephone number and address would be reconfirmed.
  7. Adequate arrangements for passengers waiting for their confirmatory molecular test as well as test results duly following effective isolation may also be made at the airports in conjunction with the airport authorities. 
  8. The airport authority shall ensure streamlining of the systems for testing at the concerned airports to ensure seamless sampling, testing, and waiting arrangements to avoid crowding and inconvenience to passengers. 
  9. Once passengers arrive at the entry airport, Airport Operator should lay down a well-defined flow for such passengers at their respective arrival terminals leading to the waiting lounges and to the exit from the terminal. 
  10. Airports can provide options to the passengers to do online booking of the confirmatory molecular test through the respective website (Air Suvidha portal) or other appropriate platforms as well as to do an offline booking. 
  11. The states and Union territories should set up help desks at airports concerned to facilitate the implementation of the SOP.
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