Covid-19 international air travel guidelines: There is no doubt that the steady decrease in COVID-19 cases in India has led to easing of the Coronavirus-related restrictions. However, there is still a ban on scheduled international commercial flights till February 28 barring some special international flights that are operating under the Vande Bharat Mission along with those flying under bilateral “air bubble” agreements. So far, as many as 24 countries including the UK, US and Maldives have signed an agreement with India for international travel.
However, the government is still cautious when it comes to international travel amid rising concerns of transmission of the new UK and South African Coronavirus strains. India also suspended flight operations with the United Kingdom as new strain (considered more virulent) surfaced. Keeping this in view, the health ministry has rolled out international travel guidelines. It is to note that everyone coming to India will have to fill out the self-reporting form on the Air Suvidha online portal.
In the national capital, Indira Gandhi International Airport is allowing international travellers coming to India to forego mandatory quarantine provided they have a negative certificate of a RT-PCR test conducted within 72 hours of departure or on arrival at the airport. Those not having this Covid negative certificate will have to comply with mandatory 7 days institutional quarantine. The cost for the quarantine will be borne by the passengers followed by another 7 days of home quarantine. For people coming from the UK, a mandatory Covid test is required both in the UK as well as in India. Even the ones testing negative will have to undergo 14-day home quarantine. To be sure, RT PCR test cost in India will be incurred by the passengers themselves.
All passengers coming from the UK, South Africa, Middle East and Europe will have to go under mandatory institutional quarantine of up to 14 days. If anyone wants exemption from institutional quarantine, it will only be considered in exceptional cases given the RT-PCR test is negative. Those coming from other countries will have to be under self home isolation for 14 days if they do not have a negative RT PCR test.
International passengers disembarking at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad will have to provide a self-reporting form to the Airport Health Organisation along with a duplicate stamped copy to immigration. Passengers will also have to submit the form on the online portal at least 72 hours before the time of travel. An undertaking stating the mandatory 14-day quarantine will also have to be submitted where passengers will stay in institutional quarantine for a week and the second week under home isolation. In the cases of human distress where death in family, pregnancy or any other emergency is involved, a 14-day home quarantine can also be permitted. Those submitting a negative RT-PCR test at their arrival are also likely to be exempted from institutional quarantine.
Those landing in Bengaluru will have to carry a Covid-19 negative certificate that has been issued within 72 hours from departure. Having a valid negative certificate will also allow travellers to be exempted from home quarantine. However, those who do not have negative certificates will have to undergo a mandatory RT-PCR test at the airport. Until results are out, they will have to stay in home quarantine. Passengers can also pre-book a test at the airport. Furthermore, those coming from the UK should have a negative test result taken within 72 hours of their departure. They will also have to take an additional Covid test at the Bengaluru airport followed by quarantining procedure.
Anyone arriving in Kochi from outside India will have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Asymptomatic patients can undergo home quarantine. After seven days, if the Covid-19 test is negative, passengers need not be in quarantine for the remaining 7 days.
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