India’s COVID-19 checklist for international arrivals

India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released new guidelines for international flyers who wish to travel to India during the coronavirus pandemic. In a circular dated November 5, 2020, the Ministry laid out rules for pre-flight planning, boarding, travel and arrival.

These guidelines must be followed alongside individual quarantine and isolation mandates set by each state. 

Please note that regardless of which Indian airport you’re arriving at, you must fill your details on Air Suvidha, which has the same website as New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.

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Passengers arriving via seaports and landports have to follow the same set of rules. 

Here is a checklist of everything you need to know:

Pre-flight planning

  • Submit the self-declaration form online on Air Suvidha (newdelhiairport.inat least 72 hours before your scheduled travel, or physically after arrival at the airport’s health counter.
  • Give an undertaking on the portal or to the Ministry of Civil Aviation through your airline before taking the journey. You are asked to comply with government authority rules for institutional and home quarantine, plus self-monitoring.
  • A 14-day home quarantine is allowed only for compelling scenarios like pregnancy, death of family members, serious illness and parent(s) with children aged 10 or under. To get this exemption, apply to the portal 72 hours before boarding. The government will communicate their decision there. 
  • To avoid institutional quarantine, submit a negative RT-PCR test report, conducted 72 hrs before your journey. Upload it on the portal, along with a declaration about the report’s authenticity. You are ‘liable for criminal prosecution if found otherwise’. The report can also be submitted after arrival, at the point of entry airport in India.
  • Those arriving without an RT-PCR negative certificate and wanting to skip institutional quarantine can use the testing facility at Indian airports, if the provision exists. Do check before arrival. You must monitor your personal health keenly if you opt for this exemption. 
  • Passengers flying to India without an RT-PCR negative certificate and not opting for the test at the point of entry airport or arriving at an airport where testing isn’t available, must undergo a mandatory institutional quarantine of 7 days, plus 7 days of home quarantine.

Before boarding

  • Follow all do’s and don’ts issued by your airline while booking flight ticket.
  • It is advised to download the Aarogya Setu app on your mobile devices.
  • At the time of boarding, you must be found asymptomatic on a thermal screening.
  • Follow social distancing.

While travelling

  • Passengers without a filled self-declaration form on the portal can fill a duplicate on the flight. This copy will be given to Health and Immigration officials at your destination airport.

  • Follow all COVID-19 announcements at the airport and during transit.
  • Wear a mask on the flight, and follow environmental, respiratory, and hand hygiene.

Upon arrival

  • Ensure social distancing while deboarding

  • Undergo thermal screening. Your filled self-declaration form shall be shown and submitted to airport health staff.
  • Symptomatic passengers will immediately be isolated and taken to a medical facility. 
  • Passengers exempted from institutional quarantine must show the same to their respective state counters before beginning home quarantine.
  • After thermal screening, passengers who have RT-PCR negative certificates will be exempted from quarantine and allowed to leave the airport. A list of national and state-level surveillance officers and call centre numbers will be shared. Contact them in case you develop symptoms.
  • All other passengers will be taken to 7 days of institutional and home quarantine each, as arranged by the respective state or union territory.

Under institutional quarantine, passengers will be:

i. Tested as per ICMR protocol

ii. Allowed home isolation or isolation in public/private Covid Care Centres if found asymptomatic / pre-symptomatic/ or having very mild cases.

iii. Admitted to Covid Health facilities if showing mild, moderate, or severe symptoms.

iv. Advised to self-monitor health for 7 days if found negative.

India’s air bubble setup: latest list, seats cut

These new rules replace the guidelines published by the MoHFW on August 2, 2020. India currently has an air bubble travel agreement with 21 countries from where travellers can book tickets. 

These are Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Canada, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Maldives, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ukraine, UAE, the UK and the USA. 

Oman has reduced seats on its flights to and from India by 50%, after some passengers tested Covid-19 positive on landing in Oman. Air India will be operating with 5,000 seats, while Indigo, SpiceJet and GoAir were asked to stop operations.

We hope you find this list useful, and have a safe and worry-free journey!

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