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The Government of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released updated guidelines for international arrivals in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. These guidelines outline protocols for travellers and points of entry, such as airports and seaports, to ensure the health and safety of all.

As the number of Covid-19 cases worldwide began to rise last year, the Indian government took action, implementing measures to prevent the virus from spreading within the country. As a result, travellers from six countries faced restrictions and were required to present a negative Covid-19 test report as well as fill out a self-declaration form on the Air Suvidha portal before arriving in India.

Now, With the recent decline in global Covid-19 cases, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has revised its current “Guidelines for International Arrivals” and also removed the requirement for Negative Covid-19 tests and self-declaration forms.

These guidelines aim to protect all travellers’ health and safety while also preventing the spread of COVID-19. According to the circular issued by the Health Ministry, these updated guidelines will go into effect from February 13, 2023 (11.00 Hrs. IST).

Updated Guidelines For International Arrivals in India

No Negative RT-PCR Tests

The requirement for a negative RT-PCR test report for travellers arriving from six Asian countries, including Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and China, has been lifted by India.

It is important to note that Starting from January 01, 2023, India updated its health guidelines, making it mandatory for travellers from/via the aforementioned countries to present a negative Covid-19 test report

No Self-Declaration forms

In addition to a negative RT-PCR test, travellers from the designated countries must also upload their test results on the Air Suvidha portal and provide health information through a self-declaration form. However, the updated guidelines have eliminated the requirement for the self-declaration form.

Planning for Travel

All travellers are encouraged to be fully vaccinated as per the approved primary schedule of their respective countries.

During Travel

In-flight announcements about COVID-19 and its precautions, such as wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing, will be made. If a passenger shows symptoms of COVID-19 during travel, they will be isolated and shifted to an isolation facility for further treatment.

On Arrival

De-boarding will be done with physical distancing in mind, and thermal screenings will be conducted for all passengers. If a passenger is found to be symptomatic during screening, they will be isolated and taken to a designated medical facility.

A random 2% of passengers on each flight will be tested upon arrival, and if they test positive, their samples will be sent for further genomic testing at the INSACOG laboratory network.

All travellers are required to self-monitor their health and report any symptoms to the nearest health facility or the National or State helpline number.

It is worth noting here that, children under 12 years of age are exempt from post-arrival testing, but if they show symptoms, they will undergo testing and be treated as per the laid-down protocol.

Random Testing Continue in Place

Despite the relaxation in the pre-departure testing norms, the random testing of 2% of international arrivals upon their arrival in India will continue, irrespective of the country of origin.

The 2% random testing has been put in place to monitor infections due to mutated variants of SARS-CoV-2 among international travellers to India.

The Government of India’s move will also be a relief for airlines operating flights to and from these six Asian countries that were particularly impacted due to these requirements.

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