International passengers must submit 14 days’ travel history and upload negative Covid test results, the government said on Sunday. Travellers from countries deemed “at-risk” will also undergo a mandatory 7-day home quarantine if they test negative for the virus, the Union Health Ministry said in revised travel guidelines for international passengers in view of ‘Omicron’ – a new variant of Covid that has been classified as a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation.
Passengers will have to submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal and include travel history for the past two weeks. They will also be required to upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test report, which should have been conducted within 72 hours of the journey. A declaration with respect to the authenticity of the Covid test report will also be required, manipulated reports will make the passenger liable for criminal prosecution.
The new guidelines will come into effect from December 1, 2021.
Travelers from 12 at-risk countries will be subjected to testing and extra surveillance. They will need to take the Covid test post-arrival and wait for results at the airport before leaving or taking any connecting flights. If the test is negative, they’ll follow home quarantine for 7 days, re-test on the 8th day and if negative again, further self-monitor for the next 7 days.
These “at-risk” countries, as of November 26, are countries in Europe including The United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Israel.
If such passengers are found to be symptomatic during screening, they will be immediately isolated and treated at a health facility. If they test positive, their samples would be sent for genomic testing at the INSACOG laboratory network, a multi-laboratory, multi-agency, pan-India network set up by the government to monitor genomic variations in the SARS-CoV-2. They will then be moved to a separate isolation facility and treated as per the standard protocol. The contacts of such positive cases will be kept under institutional quarantine or at-home quarantine monitored strictly by the concerned State Government as per standard protocol.
Travellers from countries excluding those ‘countries at risk’ will be allowed to leave the airport and shall self-monitor their health for 14 days.
A sub-section (5 per cent of total flight passengers) shall undergo post-arrival testing at random at the airport on arrival.