With Omicron being declared as a variant Of concern by the WHO, the Indian Health Ministry has issued new guidelines for international travellers. By Naina Atri
The new guidelines, issued by the Indian Health Ministry at the Centre, will come into effect on December 1. The mandate, issued on Sunday to the various Indian states, is based on global reports of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.
Omicron: New guidelines for international travellers to India
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) November 28, 2021
According to the revised guidelines, those flying in from ‘at-risk’ countries are required to upload their travel history of 14 days before arrival, as well as a negative RT-PCR test on the Air Suvedha portal, reports India Today. They must also take a test on arrival, and, with a negative result, quarantine for seven days, as reported by The Indian Express. On the eighth day, another test is mandatory.
Further, all Indian states have been instructed to ensure that fliers from countries not listed as ‘at-risk’ will be subject to random-testing on arrival, i.e. five per cent of a flight’s total number of passengers. If travellers test positive, their samples will be sent for genomic testing, and the travellers shall be sent to a separate isolation facility.
The Indian list of ‘at-risk’ includes all European countries, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Israel.
Though India had announced that from December 15, international commercial flights would resume, the Centre has decided to reevaluate their decision based on their careful study of Omicron. According to The Indian Express, given the global nature of concerns about the new variant, states have been asked to ensure that COVID-19 protocols are strictly enforced. They’ve also been urged to increase vaccination rates.