Travellers, from as many as 99 countries that had agreed to mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccination certificates with India, will now be able to enter the country without undergoing compulsory quarantine.
Almost 20 months after it imposed travel restrictions due to the outbreak of COVID-19, India on Monday, 15 November, resumed quarantine-free entry for travellers from 99 countries including the US, UK, France, Germany, Australia, Netherlands and Russia, news agency PTI reported.
These countries reportedly have agreements with India on mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccination certificates either from nationally recognized or World Health Organization (WHO) recognized vaccines.
What Do the New Guidelines Say?
As per the revised guidelines that were released by the Union Health Ministry on 11 November, travellers from the countries that have been listed under "Category A" will have to upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test report and submit a self-declaration form on the Air Suvidha portal (newdelhiairport.in), PTI reported.
The travellers will be required to take the RT-PCR test within 72 hours before undertaking the journey. Every passenger would also be required to submit a declaration to authenticate the RT-PCR test report, failing which they will be liable for criminal prosecution.
Fully vaccinated travellers from these countries would be allowed to leave the airport soon after they arrive and won't be required to undergo home quarantine. They, however, would be required to self monitor their health for 14 days after their arrival.
According to the guidelines, "fifteen days must have elapsed since completion of Covid-19 vaccination schedule."
If the travellers are partially vaccinated or not vaccinated, they would have to take additional precautions. Post arrival, they will have to submit their samples for COVID testing, following which they will be allowed to leave the airport.
They would also have to remain in home quarantine for seven days, after which a COVID test would be performed on them again. If the result turns negative, they will have to self monitor their health for seven days.
Guidelines for Passengers from Countries That Do Not Have Reciprocal Arrangement With India
The Health Ministry's guidelines said that there were countries that did not have mutual recognition of vaccine certificates with India. However, the ministry said that they would exempt Indians who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with nationally recognized or WHO recognized vaccines.
Based on reciprocity, travellers from countries (category A) that provide quarantine-free entry to Indians will be provided with certain relaxations on arrival.
India still considers some countries to be 'at risk'. These include South Africa, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, and Bangladesh. So travellers from these countries will have to follow additional preventive measures, including testing.
In a tweet, the Union Ministry of Tourism said, "As India opened its doors to fully-vaccinated international tourists from all over the world beginning Monday, India tourism Mumbai accorded a warm welcome to the first set of international tourists who landed at Mumbai International Airport by Air France flight AF218."
Post arrival, travellers from countries except those from 'at risk' can leave the airport. They would be, however, required to self-monitor their health for a period of 14 days after they arrive in India. This rule would be applicable to passengers from all countries, including those with whom India has reciprocal arrangements for mutual acceptance of WHO-approved vaccines or nationally recognized vaccines.
(With inputs from PTI)