To keep a check on international movement and help curb the spread of COVID-19, the MHA has issued new SOPs for inbound and outbound international travel. By Tanvi Jain
— Air India Express (@FlyWithIX) August 27, 2020
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has recently issued new Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs) for non-scheduled commercial flights under the ongoing bilateral bubbles with select nations and Vande Bharat Mission (VBM).
As per the new guidelines, whoever wants to travel to India, except via flights operating under air bubble arrangement, will have to first get themselves registered with the Indian missions in their current country and submit the required details, as prescribed by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
Among the list of travellers, priority will be given to people facing any kind of emergency such as those in distress due to loss of income amid COVID-19, expired visa holders, health issue, pregnant women, elderly and death of kin or students.
— India in Malaysia (@hcikl) August 27, 2020
For inbound travellers, the MEA will prepare a flight database of all the flyers based on the information submitted by them, i.e. name, age, gender, contact number, place of residence, place of destination; and RT-PCR test details and result. It will then share all this information with the respective state or union territory in advance.
However, for an outbound flight, a person will have to first apply to Civil Aviation Ministry or a designated agency, with the required details, and before confirming the tickets the airline will have to ensure if the passenger with a valid visa is allowed to enter the destination country or not.
27 Aug – #VandeBharatMission Phase5 – 8th repatriation 🛫 from #Japan to #India – Stranded #Indian Nationals at #NaritaAirport to board @AirIndiaIn🛫from #Tokyo to #Bengaluru via #Mumbai.@MEAIndia @MoCA_GoI @CSIMA_official @BLRAirport @CMOMaharashtra @CMofKarnataka pic.twitter.com/AiBOLYzQWQ
— India in Japanインド大使館 (@IndianEmbTokyo) August 27, 2020
Other key highlights to keep in mind as per the new SOP include, those travelling to India can book the non-scheduled flights and ships as approved by the MoCA and Ministry of Shipping, respectively. And only the staff that has tested negative will be allowed to operate them. All travellers will not only have to bear the cost but will also be required to submit a COVID-19 negative certificate along with an undertaking that they are travelling at their own risk. Lastly, both the crew as well as the passengers will be required to strictly follow all safety measures as directed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), both during the journey as well as after arriving in India.