Things are looking a bit sunnier for Indians who need to travel abroad.
Last week, we told you about the handful of countries that had opened their doors to arrivals from India, after the Delta and Kappa variants of COVID-19 showed signs of control.
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Now, three more updates have arrived that should ease the booking process for passengers who urgently need to fly out of the country during the pandemic.
Here’s all you need to know:
Centre speeds up vaccination timeline for select groups
The Union Health Ministry has announced that three categories of persons will be allowed to receive their second dose of the Covishield vaccine early, to enable vital international travel.
The earlier rules stated that the second dose can be administered only after a minimum interval of 84 days after the first dose. However, students who have plans to study abroad, persons taking up jobs in foreign countries, and India’s contingent for the Tokyo Olympics will be given a ‘special dispensation’ to get the jab in advance, before the 84 days are over. This will help them avoid any conflicts for travel dates that fall within the minimum interval period.
According to the Ministry, “States/UT governments shall designate a competent authority in each district for according permission for such administration of second dose of Covishield.”
The competent authority will then check the following details before granting permission for administering the second dose early:
This facility will be available for all qualifying travellers till August 31, and will also be added to CoWIN soon. The competent authority will also have the power to issue a second vaccination certificate linked to the traveller’s passport number, in case a destination country has set such a requirement for arrivals.
Saudi Arabia approves Covishield
The Indian Embassy in Riyadh confirmed on Sunday that Saudi Arabia has recognised Covishield as equivalent to the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, which is approved by Saudi authorities.
This comes as a major relief to NRIs who have been inoculated with Covishield in India and wish to fly back to Saudi Arabia, as well as to Indian citizens who may apply for tourist, work or other visas in the future.
Embassy is pleased to announce that Saudi Authorities have recognised the equivalence of Covishield vaccine in India to the Astra Zeneca vaccine which is approved by Saudi authorities.
— India in Saudi Arabia (@IndianEmbRiyadh) June 6, 2021
Apart from AstraZeneca, the Kingdom has approved the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for international arrivals. Covaxin is yet to receive regulatory approval in Saudi Arabia. For updated information on the Kingdom’s travel guidelines, see saudia.com
Lufthansa resumes non-stop India–Germany flights
The airline has restarted its non-stop flights from India to Germany, with the services on offer till June 30, 2021. Ten weekly flights each will operate in the Germany–India and India–Germany sectors. You can see their schedules below:
To check the travel regulations for passengers from India, you can visit lufthansa.com/in/en/flight-information
For more information on international travel guidelines, we advise you to follow our COVID-19 Travel Guide. However, please keep in mind that country policies are subject to sudden changes. If you have any queries about your destination’s requirements, kindly consult your airline.
That’s all for today. Keep following ixigo for more timely updates!