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India lifts RT-PCR, quarantine curbs on international passengers: New covid guidelines come into force
A list of countries whose vaccinations are approved by India has been published on the Health Ministry portal. The relaxations therefore apply only to fully vaccinated travellers from those countries with which India has an agreement on approved covid vaccines or any other countries which approve of Indian vaccines on a reciprocal basis. Else, the traveller should have the regative RT-PCR test report taken before departure. The mandatory RT-PCR test on arrival has been done away with.

NEW DELHI, Feb 15: The Government of India has eased the restrictions on international travellers by removing the requirement for RT-PCR tests on arrival in the country and the seven-day mandatory quarantine provided they have been fully vaccinated against covid with approved vaccines or possess a valid negative RT-PCR test report. Instead of the seven-day mandatory quarantine they need to self- monitor for 14 days for any symptoms.

However, passengers found to be symptomatic on arrival will be immediately isolated and taken to medical facility under the health protocol. Post-arrival, two per cent of the total passengers in a flight will also undergo random testing at the airport. They will submit the samples and can leave the airport.

The Standard Operating Procedure came into effect from the midnight February 14 -15.

According to the new guidelines issued by the Health Ministry, all the travellers have to fill a self-declaration form online (Air Suvidha web portal), including a travel history of the past 14 days. They must also upload the negative report of RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure or certificate of approved vaccination. Each passenger shall also submit a declaration with respect to authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution, if found otherwise.

They should also give an undertaking on the portal or otherwise to Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, through concerned airlines before they are allowed to undertake the journey that they would abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority any post arrival requirement to undergo home/institutional quarantine/ self-health monitoring, as warranted. The passengers have been advised to download Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices.

Besides, the list of ‘at risk’ countries has been scrapped and in its place a list of countries whose vaccinations are approved by India, has been published ( SEE: List of Countries) . The relaxations therefore apply only to fully vaccinated travellers from those countries with which India has an agreement on approved vaccines or any other countries which approve of Indian vaccines on a reciprocal basis.

The covid situation has improved a lot, but the Ministry said there is still “need to monitor the continuously changing” virus. It is also imperative that “economic activities need to be taken up in an unhindered manner”, the Ministry added.

The guidelines apply to special flights only as the ban on scheduled international commercial flights imposed on March 23, 2020 when covid started spreading in the country has continued with extensions. It was last extended on January 19, till February 28.

SEE: The New Guidelines for International Arrivals

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