India issues new rules for international travelers as mutant virus of COVID surge

In view of rising cases of new COVID strain in India, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has announced updated guidelines for international passengers arriving in India.
The MoCA stated, “These guidelines will supersede all guidelines issued on the subject since August 2, 2020. This Standard Operating Procedure shall be valid w.e.f. 22nd February 2021 till further orders.”
As per the news reports, the new guidelines will be applicable on all international travelers coming/transiting through flights originating from the United Kingdom, Middle East, and Europe.

Here are the key new guidelines:
All travelers should submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal before their scheduled travel. They need to upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report, which had been conducted 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey.

All travelers before undertaking the journey are required to give an undertaking on the portal or otherwise to the MoCA of India, via concerned airlines that they would abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority to undergo home quarantine, and self-monitor their health for 14 days, or as warranted.

Those travelling to India in the exigency of death in the family will be exempted from producing negative COVID report rules.

Also, to seek such an exemption, one should apply to the online portal ( at least 72 hours before boarding.

Only asymptomatic travelers will be allowed to board their flight after thermal screening.

For those who have connecting flights, airlines are required to inform them about the need of a minimum 6-8 hours for transit time at the entry airport (in India), which will be required for testing and other procedures.

Airlines need to identify those arriving from/transiting via the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa (during past 14 days), and segregate them in-flight, or while disembarking to facilitate authorities are able to follow due protocol.

Travellers arriving from/transiting through flights originating in the United Kingdom, Europe or Middle East will be required to mandatorily undergo self-paid confirmatory molecular tests on arrival at the Indian airports concerned.

International travelers who are on short visit (of less than 14 days) to India and who have tested negative, remain symptom free, will also have to undergo all the said procedures, and will 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.

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