New Delhi: The government on Wednesday issued new guidelines for international arrivals amid the spread of mutant variants of coronavirus in many countries. The decision has been taken to educe the risk of new COVID strains.
The new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will come into effect from 11.59pm on February 22 till further orders.
In the context of the spread of mutant variant of SARS-CoV-2 in many countries, the civil aviation ministry in consultation with the health and family welfare ministry has issued new guidelines for international arrivals, according to an official release.
There are fresh guidelines for all international travellers coming/transiting through flights originating from the United Kingdom, Europe and Middle East.
The government has suspended international scheduled flights till February 28. Overseas flights to and from India are currently operated as per air bubble agreements with various countries.
As part of the new set of guidelines, all international travellers except the ones coming through flights originating from the UK, Europe and Middle East will have to submit self-declaration form on Air Suvidha portal before their scheduled travel.
They will also have to upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report with exception of those travelling to India in the exigency of death in the family. For seeking exemption, the travelling entity will have to apply to the online portal www.newdelhiairport.in at least 72 hours before boarding.
The test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to the journey and each passenger will also have to submit a declaration with respect to the authenticity of the report, as per the guidelines.
At the time of boarding the flight, only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board after thermal screening.
International travellers arriving through seaports/land ports will also have to undergo the same protocol , except that facility for online registration is not available for such passengers currently, as per the civil aviation ministry guidelines.
All such clauses shall be applicable to travellers coming/transiting from flights originating in the UK, Europe and Middle East except for clauses on testing, quarantine and isolation, the ministry stated.
Keeping in mind the testing requirements for passengers from the UK, Brazil and South Africa, who have to take connecting flights, airlines should keep the passengers informed about the need for transit time of a minimum 6-8 hours at the entry airport (in India) while booking the tickets for connecting flights, as per the guidelines.
Airlines should identify the international travellers arriving from/transiting through the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa (during past 14 days) and segregate them in-flight or while disembarking to facilitate the authorities to follow the due protocol in respect of these travellers, it stated.
All the travellers arriving from/transiting through flights originating in the United Kingdom, Europe or Middle East shall be mandatorily subjected to self-paid confirmatory molecular tests on arrival at the Indian airports concerned (port of entry).
The state-wise passenger manifest of the flights originating from Europe and Middle East and landing at Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai airports in India for the said period shall be conveyed by the Bureau of Immigration to State Government/Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, among others.
For the international travellers on short stay (of less than 14 days) and who have tested negative and remain symptom free, shall undergo all the procedures as above and shall be permitted to leave India under proper intimation to their District/State health authorities, subject to them fulfilling the requirement of the airlines and destination country, as per the guidelines.
(With inputs from PTI)