Kuwait allows direct flights from India, stiff health protocols apply

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Kuwait City: Kuwait has decided to give permission for operating direct flights from India and other five countries. For lakhs of Indian expatriates employed in this Gulf country the announcement has come as a welcome relief as many of them couldn't return to their home country or workplaces after visiting India owing to the flight ban imposed over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kuwait will resume commercial flights with India and Egypt, among other countries, while adhering to the COVID-19 measures set by a ministerial committee, a statement of the Kuwait Cabinet said on Wednesday.

Flights services with Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal too have been resumed.

The decision comes in the wake of the Kuwait Government assessing the strict COVID-19 restrictions enforced by these countries.

The Kuwait Government had disallowed entry of expatriates from some foreign countries, including India, on account of the severe pandemic situation. It was in late April 2021 Kuwait suspended all direct commercial flights coming from India until further notice due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country. However, operations of freight flights continued.

Prior to that the UK, the UAE and Canada too had announced ban on flights from India as the COVID-19 situation in the country worsened. Earlier this month Canada extended by another month restrictions on flights to and from India. However, the UK and the UAE have resumed flight operations.

Key points

Here are the guidelines regarding vaccination and medical tests prescribed for those intending to travel to Kuwait from India and other countries.

• Overseas passengers will be allowed to enter Kuwait only after being successful at the screening to be held as part of maintaining strict COVID-19 protocol.

• Only those who have taken vaccines officially recognised by the Kuwait Government will be allowed to fly. Vaccines of Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford AstraZeneca are officially recognised by the Kuwait Government.

• Passengers, who have taken two doses of Sputnik and Cinopharm which are not recognised by the Kuwait Government, have to take another dose of any of the above listed recognised vaccines in order to get permission for travel.

• Passengers, who have taken vaccines in Kuwait, should enter the immunisation details in 'Immune' and 'Kuwait Mobile ID' Apps while entering the airport. Those who have taken vaccines from outside will have to apply for permission by submitting the relevant details of their passport and vaccination certificate.

• The submission of an RT-PCR test negative certificate taken 72 hours before travel is also mandatory. Once reaching Kuwait, one has to be quarantined for seven days.

Thousands stranded in Kerala

The decision of the Kuwait Government to allow direct flights from India has come as a big relief for thousands of expatriates who have been stranded in Kerala for a long time.

Though direct flights from India were disallowed, the expatriates from the country were allowed entry in Kuwait from August 1. But the flyers had to stay in some other neighbouring country for 14 days before entering Kuwait.

This had caused considerable hardship to ordinary Kuwait-bound passengers as they had to cough up more money for their travel. Exploiting the situation, the travelling agencies had started fleecing them.

Many Malayali expatriates faced difficulties for a return journey to Kuwait even after the Kuwait Government recognised the COVID-19 vaccination certificate issued by India.

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