New Delhi: In a major relief, international travellers to India from six specific countries will no longer be required to present a COVID-19 test report on arrival or upload the ‘Air Suvidha’ form.
The exemption, which came to effect from February 13, applies to passengers arriving in India from China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand and Japan, the Union Health Ministry stated in a notification.
However, random testing of 2% of total passengers in all international flights will continue at airports.
The Indian government had made RT-PCR test mandatory for people flying in from above mentioned countries at the beginning of the year.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to the Secretary of Aviation about updated guidelines for international arrivals.
“The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, as a part of its proactive yet graded public health response to COVID-19 management, has been updating ‘Guidelines for International Arrivals’ from time to time. In the last update, based on the increasing trajectory of Covid-19 and circulation of mutant variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in some countries, the Ministry had mandated requirements of pre-departure COVID-19 testing and uploading of Self-Health Declaration on the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s ‘Air Suvidha’ portal,” Bhushan stated.
“However, as has been witnessed in the last four weeks, these countries are witnessing a sustained and significant decline in the trajectory of COVID-19 cases. Further, as per World Health Organisation’s latest situational update on COVID-19, a decline of 89% in the number of newly confirmed cases in the past 28 days has been noted globally as compared to 28 days prior to that. Meanwhile, India has continued to witness a declining trajectory, with less than 100 new cases/day being reported. In view of the above, the Ministry is updating its ‘Guidelines for International Arrivals’, and dropping the existing requirements of pre-departure COVID-19 testing and uploading of Self-Health Declaration on the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s ‘Air Suvidha’ portal applicable for international travellers coming from/via China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Thailand and Japan,” the Health secretary wrote.
He added in order to monitor infections due to mutated variants of SARS-CoV-2 among international travellers to India, the present exercise of random testing of 2 per cent travellers to India (irrespective of country of origin) upon arrival in India shall continue.
According to Union Health Ministry data on Monday, India reported 82 fresh coronavirus infections and 3 deaths – 2 in UP and 1 in West Bengal – as active cases declined to 1,837.