Image used for representational purposes.
The Union Health Ministry on Sunday, 28 November, announced revised travel guidelines for international passengers in order to curb the spread of the new COVID-19 variant, 'Omicron', which has been classified as a 'Variant of Concern' (VoC) by the World Health Organization (WHO).
International travellers will have to provide their 14 days’ travel history and upload negative COVID test results.
Further, travellers from “at-risk” countries will have to go undergo a mandatory 7-day quarantine even if they test negative for the virus.
The new guidelines will come into effect from Wednesday, 1 December.
What do the guidelines say?
As per the new guidelines, all travellers will have to submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal and provide travel details of the last 14-days of travel.
They will also be required to upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test report, which should have been conducted within 72 hours of the journey.
Travellers will also have to make a declaration with respect to the authenticity of the COVID test report.
Airlines will only allow boarding of those passengers who have filled in the self-declaration form on the Air Suvidha portal and uploaded the negative RT-PCR test report.
Which countries have been listed ‘at risk’?
The 'at-risk' countries include the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Israel.
What are the guidelines for travellers from ‘at risk’ countries?
Travellers from at-risk countries will have to get tested for COVID-19 post-arrival and will have to wait for their test results at the arrival airport before leaving or taking a connecting flight.
If tested negative, travellers will have to remain in home quarantine for seven days, with a re-test on the eighth day.
However, if such travellers are tested positive, their samples will be sent for genomic testing at the INSACOG lab.
The contacts of such positive cases are also to be kept under institutional quarantine or at home quarantine monitored strictly by the concerned state government.
Will travellers excluding ‘at risk’ countries be allowed to leave the airport?
Travellers from countries excluding those countries at risk, will be allowed to leave the airport and shall self-monitor their health for 14 days’ post arrival.
However, a sub-section (5 of the total flight passengers) shall undergo post-arrival testing at random on arrival.