India today announced a fresh set of guidelines for international travellers after two new strains of coronavirus - the UK and the South African strains - were detected in the country. These new guidelines will be implemented from the midnight of February 23 until further orders, the health ministry said in a statement.
The new rules have outlined two sets of Standard Operating Procedures - one for passengers flying in from the UK, Europe and the middle East and the other for passengers from other countries.
For Passengers From UK, Europe And Middle East
- All passengers must submit Self-Declaration Form (SDF) for COVID on the online Air Suvidha portal (www.newdelhiairport.in) before the scheduled travel and will be required to declare their travel history (of past 14 days)
- Airlines should keep the passengers travelling on connecting flights to be informed about the need for transit time of a minimum 6-8 hours at the entry airport (in India) while booking the tickets for connecting flights
- All passengers must carry negative RT-PCR Test report for which test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey. They should also upload it to the online portal
- Airlines should allow only those passengers to board who have filled in the SDF on the Air Suvidha portal and uploaded the negative RT-PCR test report
- Airlines must identify international travellers arriving from/transiting through United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa during the past 14 days and separate them in-flight or while disembarking to facilitate the authorities to follow the due protocol in respect of these travellers
- In-flight announcements must also be made explaining the relevant information to the passengers
- The immigration officers at the airports must ensure identification of travellers originating or transiting from UK, Brazil and South Africa (during past 14 days)
- All passengers from UK, Europe or Middle East will be mandatorily subjected to self-paid confirmatory molecular tests on arrival. Telephone number and address uploaded to online portal will be reconfirmed
- Travellers from UK, Brazil and South Africa who would board connecting flights from an airport in India must give their sample and exit the airport only after tests are confirmed to be negative. This may take 6-8 hours
- If passengers test positive upon arrival, they will be isolated at an institutional facility.
- If the report of the passenger is consistent with the current coronavirus genome circulating in the country, they will be provided treatment based on severity of the case
- If they test positive for the new strains, they will continue to remain in a separate isolation unit, tested again after 14 days and kept at the facility till they test negative
For Passengers From Countries Other Than UK, Europe And Middle East
- All passengers must submit Self-Declaration Form (SDF) for COVID on the online Air Suvidha portal (www.newdelhiairport.in) before the scheduled travel and upload a negative RT-PCR Test report. They must get tested within 72 hours prior to their journey. Passenger will also have to submit a declaration about the authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution, if found to be untrue
- They will have to submit an undertaking on the portal to the Ministry of Civil Aviation through concerned airlines before commencing their journey that they will abide by the decision of the appropriate authority to undergo home quarantine or self-monitoring of their health for 14 days, or as needed
- Arrival in India without negative report will only be allowed for those traveling in the case of death in the family. These passengers will have to apply to the online portal at least 72 hours before boarding their flights. The decision taken by the government as communicated on the online portal will be final
- Do's and don'ts will be provided along with the tickets by airlines or agencies concerned
- Only those who have submitted SDF and Covid negative report online will be allowed to board
- Only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board after thermal screening
- All passengers will be advised to download the Aarogya Setu App on their phones
- Environmental sanitation and disinfection will be ensured at the airports
- During boarding all possible measures to ensure physical distancing must be ensured
- Announcement about COVID-19, including precautionary measures to be followed, will be made at airports and in flights and during transit
- While on board the flight, airline staff, crew and all passengers must wear masks, maintain environmental hygiene, respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene
- While exiting flights, physical distancing must be ensured
- Thermal screening will be carried out for all the passengers by health officials at the airport
- The self-declaration form filled online must be shown to the airport health staff
- Passengers who are found to be symptomatic during screening will be immediately isolated and taken to medical facility as per protocol
- The passengers who have been exempted for pre-arrival RT-PCR testing will have to show the same to the respective state counters. They will be prioritised for sample collection in the designated area and permitted to exit the airport only after samples have been collected
- These passengers will have to monitor their health for 14 days
- All other passengers who have uploaded RT-PCR negative certificates on Air Suvidha portal will be allowed to exit the airport or take transit flights
- They will also be provided the list of the National and State level surveillance officers and the respective call centre numbers, so as to inform State/National Call Centres in case they develop symptoms at any time
International Traveller On Short Stay
- All international travellers on staying for less than 14 days and who have tested negative and remain asymptomatic, will undergo all the procedures and will be permitted to leave India under proper intimation to their District/State health authorities, if they fulfill the requirement of the airlines and destination country
- Contacts for passengers who are suspected to be infected will be the co-passengers seated in the same row, 3 rows in front and 3 rows behind along with identified Cabin Crew
- All the community contacts of those travellers who have tested positive (during home quarantine period) will be subjected to institutional quarantine in separate Quarantine Centres for 14 days and tested as per ICMR protocol.
- States may consider additional requirements with regards to testing, quarantine and isolation as per their risk assessment.
- States should however intimate the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in time
- States must adequately publicise such additional requirements on their official websites well in advance to avoid inconvenience to the travellers
- The travellers destined to a specific state are also requested to refer to state specific official websites to remain well-informed about any additional requirements
The South African strain of the virus has been detected in four people and the Brazil variant seen in one, the Indian Council of Medical Research, the nodal body in the country's battle against coronavirus has said. India has so far reported 1.09 crore cases of coronavirus with over 1.55 lakh deaths.