The government of India has instated fresh cautionary measures for international arrivals in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus inside the country.
The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday issued detailed guidelines of all the steps during travel, covering everything from tour planning to arrival at one's destination.
The fresh guidelines have superseded the 2 August guidelines on the subject
According to the latest guidelines, all travelers must submit a self-declaration form on the online portal (www.newdelhiairport.in) at least 72 hours before their scheduled travel – or physically upon arrival at their respective health counters.
They should also give an undertaking on the portal, or otherwise to Ministry of Civil Aviation of India, through airlines concerned before they are allowed to take the journey; declaring that they will abide by the decision of the authority concerned to undergo facility, home quarantine, or self-monitoring of their health for 14 days, or as warranted.
Parents with children of the age of 10 years or below may get permission for home quarantine. This is flexible only for compelling reasons, such as pregnancy, death in a family or serious illness.
To avail such an exemption, travelers will have to apply via the online portal (www.newdelhiairport.in) at least 72 hours before boarding. The decision taken by the government as communicated on the online portal and will be final.
Travelers may also seek an exemption from institutional quarantine by submitting a negative RT-PCR test report. The test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to the journey. The test report could also be produced upon arrival at the point of entry airport in India.
However, international passengers arriving without an RT-PCR negative certificate and wishing to seek exemption from institutional quarantine may also avail the facility available at the airports to undergo RT-PCR testing.
All such passengers opting for an exemption from institutional quarantine shall undertake self-monitoring of their health and will be exempt from quarantine.
International passengers arriving without RT-PCR negative certificate and not opting for an RT-PCR test at the airport – if the facility is available – or arriving at an airport where testing facility is not available, will have to undergo mandatory seven days' institutional quarantine and seven days' home quarantine.
A list of dos and don'ts shall be provided along with travelers' tickets by the airlines or agencies concerned. All passengers shall be advised to download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices.
At the time of boarding a flight, only asymptomatic travelers will be allowed to board after a thermal screening. Suitable precautionary measures, such as environmental sanitation and disinfection, shall be ensured at airports.
Travelers who have not filled in a self-declaration form on the portal willl have to fill out the same form, in duplicate, on the flight. A copy of the same will be given to health and immigration officials present at the airport.
While on board the flight, required precautions – such as the wearing of masks, environmental hygiene, respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene etc. – are to be observed by airline staff, crew, and all passengers.
Deboarding should be done ensuring physical distancing. Thermal screening will be carried out for all the passengers by the health officials present at the airport.
The self-declaration form filled out online shall be shown – or a copy of physical self-declaration form submitted – to the airport health staff.
The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening will immediately be isolated and taken to a medical facility as per health protocols.
Post thermal screening, passengers who have been exempted from institutional quarantine will show the same to their respective state counters – on their cell phones or by other modes – before being allowed home quarantine for 14 days.
Post thermal screening, the passengers who have RT-PCR negative certificates already with them shall be exempt from quarantine and shall be allowed to leave and undertake self-monitoring of their health for 14 days.
All such passengers will also be provided the list of the national and state level surveillance officers and the respective call centre numbers, so as to inform state or national call centres in case they develop symptoms at any time during the quarantine or self-monitoring of their health.
The remaining passengers shall be taken to suitable institutional quarantine facilities, to be arranged by the respective state or union territory governments to undergo mandatory seven days' institutional quarantine and seven days' home quarantine.
These passengers shall be kept under institutional quarantine for a minimum period of seven days. They shall be tested as per the ICMR protocol. If they are assessed as asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic or very mild cases, they will be allowed home isolation or isolated in the Covid-19 Care Centre as appropriate.
Those with symptoms will be admitted to dedicated Covid-19 health facilities and managed accordingly. If found negative, they shall be advised to self-monitor their health for an additional seven days.
International passengers arriving at sea and land ports
International passengers arriving through sea and land ports will also have to undergo the same protocol as above, except the facility for online registration is not available for such passengers currently.
Such passengers shall submit the self-declaration form to the concerned authorities of the government of India at the ports on arrival.
It can be noted that states may have additional restrictions imposed with regards to quarantine and isolation as per their field assessment post arrival of passengers in the state concerned.