People arriving in India on flights operating under "bilateral air bubbles" with select countries may soon be required to fill an online form giving details of their end destination and where would they be quarantined - 7-day mandatory institutional quarantine paid for by the passenger and a further seven days of home quarantine, officials said today.
The online form would help share passenger details with officials and doctors in triage areas of the country's international airports. "The idea is being considered to ensure faster clearance; the process is often delayed because it takes time to fill multiple forms," a senior officer told NDTV.
He added that in the last few days, there have been cases of passengers and officials getting into heated arguments over quarantine-related issues.
This is among the arrangements being made by the Central government to streamline functioning of airports, and ensure passenger and public health safety amid the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Thursday.
Other issues reviewed by Mr Bhalla at the meeting were secondary health screening at the final destination state, deployment of additional health personnel for triage in the arrival area and for health checkup in the departure area.
All passengers will have to undergo the mandatory health screening, which includes a primary thermal screening by discreetly mounted, highly accurate, mass screening cameras, by Airport Health Officials.
Secondary screening will be done by officials of the respective states stationed at dedicated triage areas within the airport.
Passengers are advised to be quarantined in the first city of disembarkation. Those seeking exemption will need to fill a form and discuss their case with government officials inside the airport.
If exemption from quarantine is approved and their final destination is another state they must make arrangements for quarantine on arrival in the respective state with the government officials stationed at the airport of disembarkation.
At the Delhi airport, passengers may be considered for exemption only if they fall into one of the four exemption categories - pregnant women, suffered a death in the family, suffering from serious illness (description to be provided), and parents accompanied by children below 10 years of age.
To be considered for exemption, one must provide a medical certificate, a death certificate, copy of passport, and ticket for the next flight, the official said.
Neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand would have their respective state posts at the "Meet and Greet" area.
On July 16, India announced that it has established bilateral air bubbles to safely operate international flights with the US and France. Similar arrangements with Germany and the UK will soon be permitted.