India drops pre-depart for the Covid-19 test for travellers arriving from/via China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand, and Japan has been lifted by the central government. Additionally, the government no longer requires such travellers to upload the “Air Suvidha” form.
The changes will come into effect from Monday, February 13, 2023
The decision comes in the wake of a significant decline in Covid-19 cases in these countries, over the past few weeks.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, in a letter to his counterpart in the Ministry of Civil Aviation Rajiv Bansal, stated his ministry was updating its ‘Guidelines for International Arrivals’ in view of a decline in coronavirus cases.
“In view of the above, this ministry is updating its ‘Guidelines for International Arrivals’, and dropping the existing requirements of pre-departure Covid-19 testing and uploading of the Self-Health Declaration on the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s ‘Air Suvidha’ portal applicable for international travellers coming from/via China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Thailand and Japan,” the letter stated.
Government of India drops COVID-19 testing and uploading of 'Air Suvidha' form for international arrivals from/via China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand and Japan pic.twitter.com/TIkSnZfTNt— ANI (@ANI) February 10, 2023
In order to monitor infections due to mutated variants of SARS-CoV-2 among international travellers to India, the present exercise of random testing of two per cent travellers irrespective of their country of origin upon arrival in India shall continue, it stated.
On Thursday, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the possibility of a large new wave of Covid-19 is relatively low in the coming months in China.
WHAT CHINESE SCIENTISTS SAY
The world should “calm down” about the possibility of new Covid-19 variants circulating in China, leading Chinese scientist George Gao said.
A paper by Gao and colleagues published in the Lancet medical journal on Wednesday showed that no new variants had emerged in the initial weeks of China’s recent outbreak, after the end of its zero-Covid policy saw a huge wave of cases.
“The world should completely calm down from the fear that there are new variants or special variants circulating (in China),” Gao, professor at the Institute of Microbiology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and former head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told Reuters.
The variants causing infections in China were the same Omicron sub-variants – BA.5.2 and BF.7 – seen elsewhere in the world, he said by email.
The study analysed 413 new cases of Covid in Beijing between November 14 and December 20, 2022, and discovered that all were probably brought on by strains that already existed. It was discovered that the aforementioned two sub-variants were responsible for 90% of the majority of locally acquired infections.