Fresh guidelines for international travellers after new COVID strains reported in India

In view of detection of South Africa and Brazil variants of the Sars-CoV-2 virus in the country, the Civil Aviation Ministry has released a Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) for international passengers arriving in India.

It will come into effect from 11:59 PM on February 22. For all international travellers except travellers coming through flights originating from the United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East, they will be required to submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal before the scheduled travel and upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report. This test should have been conducted within 72 hrs prior to undertaking the journey. Each passenger will also submit a declaration with respect to authenticity of the report. They should also give undertaking through concerned airlines before they are allowed to undertake the journey that they will abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority to undergo home quarantine or self-monitoring of their health for 14 days.

As per the SoP, Do’s and Don’ts will be provided to the passengers along with tickets to the travellers by the airlines. At the time of boarding the flight, only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board after thermal screening.

During travel, suitable announcements about COVID-19 including precautionary measures will be made at airports and in flights and during transit. Deboarding should be done ensuring physical distancing.

According to SoP, all international travellers coming or transiting through flights originating from the United Kingdom, Europe and Middle East, should submit Self-Declaration Form for COVID before the scheduled travel and will be required to declare their travel history of past 14 days. Travellers from the UK, Brazil and South Africa, who have to take a connecting flight, will have to give their sample at a designated area at the airport and exit only after testing negative, which may take between six-eight hours.

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