Centre makes negative RT-PCR test report mandatory for international passengers coming to India

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to recede, the central government is in no mood to be complacent. In this regard, the government has reviewed the restrictions in place for international arrivals and mandated negative RT-PCR test report for all international passengers coming to India.

As per an order issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, all travellers should submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal before the scheduled travel, upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report which should have been conducted within 72 hrs prior to undertaking the journey, and each passenger shall also submit a declaration with respect to the authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution if found otherwise.

The order further stated that the revised protocols need to be adhered to by international travellers as well as by airlines at points of entry (airports, seaports and land borders) for risk profiling of passengers.

The government also informed that travellers from certain specified Countries (based on the epidemiological situation of COVID-19 in those Countries) are identified for additional follow up.

Notably, several countries have an agreement with India on mutual recognition of vaccination certificates of Nationally recognised or WHO recognised vaccines. Similarly, there are countries that presently do not have such an agreement with India, but they exempt Indian citizens fully vaccinated with Nationally recognised or WHO recognised vaccines.

On the basis of reciprocity, the travellers from all such countries which provide quarantine-free entry to Indians are allowed certain relaxations on arrival (Category A Countries).

The order stated that before boarding, the do’s and don’ts shall be provided along with tickets to the travellers by the airlines/agencies concerned. It further directed airlines to allow boarding by only those passengers who have filled in the self-declaration form on the ‘Air Suvidha’ portal and uploaded the negative RT-PCR test report.

It stated that at the time of boarding the flight, only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board after the thermal screening.

Furthermore, the order advised all passengers to download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices.

The order also mentioned that contacts of the suspect case are the co-passengers seated in the same row, 3 rows in front and 3 rows behind along with identified Cabin Crew.

Also, all the community contacts of those travellers who have tested positive (during the home quarantine period) would be subjected to quarantine for 14 days and tested as per ICMR protocol.

The countries from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India, including post-arrival testing (countries at-risk) arecountries in Europe including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand and Zimbabwe.

(With ANI inputs)

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