The government on Wednesday issued new guidelines for international arrivals amid the spread of mutant variants of coronavirus in many countries. The new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will come into effect from 23.59 pm on February 22 till further orders.
“In the context of Covid-19, Government of India is following point of entry procedures for identifying international travellers, particularly at-risk travellers to India through multi-pronged strategy of thermal screening and testing,” the health ministry said in its updated guidelines. There is increasing evidence that the mutant variants of SARS-CoV-2 are in circulation in many countries and these mutant variants are driving the pandemic in their country of origin.
So far, the three SARS-CoV-2 variants in circulation viz-a-viz (i) UK variant (ii) South Africa variant and (iii) Brazil variant, have been detected in 86, 44 and 15 countries, respectively. According to the guidelines, all international travellers, except those coming on flights originating from the United Kingdom, Europe and Middle East, will require to submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal along with a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR report prior to travel.
This test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey. Each passenger shall also submit a declaration with respect to authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution, if found otherwise.
Besides this, passengers will also require to submit an undertaking on the portal or otherwise to the aviation ministry through concerned airlines before undertaking the journey that they would abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority to undergo home quarantine/ self-monitoring of their health for 14 days, or as warranted.
Arrival in India without a Covid negative report will only be allowed to those travelling in the exigency of death in the family.