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What are India’s Latest Guidelines on International Travel?

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  • What are India’s Latest Guidelines on International Travel?

    • Reporting by the Times of India: “The recently announced revised guidelines have removed the clause that made staying at an isolation facility mandatory upon arrival. Those found to be symptomatic during screening will be isolated immediately and taken to a medical facility as per health protocol. Contacts of those who are found positive shall be identified and managed as per protocol. However, do note that foreign arrivals who test positive, will still have to undergo home quarantine for seven days, and even if they test negative, they will have to undergo RT-PCR test on the 8th day of arrival in India.”
    • On January 20, 2022, India released new protocol for international travelers, airlines, and all points of entry (airports, seaports, land border). This will come in effect from January 22, 2022, 00:01 IST. See here for the updated standard operating procedures. International travelers arriving in India who test positive for COVID-19 shall be treated/isolated as per the laid down standard protocol; the revised guidelines have removed the clause that mandated staying at “isolation facility” upon arrival.
    • India has extended the ban on scheduled international commercial flights to 23:59 February 28, 2022: Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). This ban does not apply to international all-cargo operations and the DGCA-approved flights. The notification was released by the DGCA on January 19, 2022.
    • The Hindustan Times reporting: “No special SOP henceforth will be applicable for passengers coming from UAE, including Dubai [to Mumbai]. Guidelines applicable to international travelers arriving from countries other than countries at-risk will be made applicable to travelers arriving from UAE.”: Mumbai’s civic governing body, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. This is in effect from January 17, 2022.
    • India’s list of at-risk countries as of January 7, 2022: Countries in Europe, South Africa, Brazil, China, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Hong Kong, Israel, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Zambia. See official notification here.
    • India has updated its list of ‘at risk’ nations for international arrivals, adding eight new countries: Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, Ghana, Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Zambia. Travelers from these countries will need to observe additional testing and quarantining COVID protocols.
    • India has released fresh guides for international travelers, on January 7, which will come into effect January 11, 2022 (00:01 IST). See here.
    • The Economic Times is reporting that India has made it mandatory for all international passengers coming to India to quarantine for 7 days. Travelers must upload the results of a repeat RT-PCR test done on Day 8 on the Air Suvidha Portal. The health ministry notes: ““If found negative (in the test), they will further self monitor for next 7 days.” Travelers from specified at-risk countries will have to submit samples for COVID testing at the point of arrival, new guidelines say.
    • Hong Kong bars flights from India, U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, France, Pakistan, and Philippines over Omicron fears, reports The Hindu (Jan.5, 2022).
    • Maharashtra’s latest protocols mandates all international passengers, including from UAE, to undergo rapid RT-PCR test on arrival. If negative, passengers will be allowed to leave and stay under 7-day home quarantine. All international passengers who test positive for rapid RT-PCR tests have to wait at the airport for a routine RT-PCR test / undergo institutional quarantine. According to the new guidelines, all symptomatic passengers testing positive in Mumbai Airport will be admitted at Seven Hills Hospital. If the prefer admission in a private hospital, they will be transferred to Bombay Hospital or Breach Candy Hospital. “For asymptomatic COVID positive passengers those who can’t pay can be shifted in BKC and Kanjurmarg Jumbo Centers and for those who can pay they can stay in a list of hotels given by the BMC,” said an official.
    • Countries reported to be requiring mandatory vaccine booster shots for travelers include Kuwait, Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Croatia, Austria, Greece, and Israel.
    • Gulf News is reporting that India is currently making a “day to day” assessment on the resumption of normal international flights. “One has to balance the concerns of public safety and travel,” said Rakesh Kumar Verma, Additional Secretary, Tourism, Government of India. “We will take very expeditious action as and when things improve and the assessment is carried out. I’m hopeful that [full] international travel will resume soon.”
    • The West Bengal state government has announced a ban on all international direct flights coming from the United Kingdom to Kolkata, starting January 3, 2022.
    • Starting January 1, 2022, India’s air bubble arrangement with Saudi Arabia will be in effect. India now has air bubble agreements signed with 34 countries.
    • On December 24, the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) issued new guidelines for domestic and international passengers traveling to Delhi given the rise in COVID-19 cases and Omicron outbreaks around the world and country.
    • As per the fresh guidelines, thermal screening of all passengers will be done on arrival. The airport will also oversee random sample collection of passengers arriving from across the states that have reported a spurt in COVID-19 cases. Passengers will only exit after the sample collection.
      Passengers who test positive for COVID will be quarantined at home/COVID care centres/community health centres/hospital for 10 days.
      The Airport Authority of India has issued guidelines for arriving passengers – by region. The PDF links may be accessed here:
      COVID Guidelines India Northern Region 24-12-2021
      COVID Guidelines India Western Region 24.12.2021
      COVID Guidelines India Southern Region 24-12-2021
      COVID Guidelines India Eastern Region 24-12-2021
      COVID Guidelines India North East Region 24-12-2021

  • #2
    The Indian government has revised its COVID guidelines for international arrivals. The country has decided to do away with the at risk category of countries. India has recommended self-monitoring for 14 days for symptoms, instead of the previous rule of home quarantine for 7 days.
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