Travellers fully vaccinated and coming from a country with which India has reciprocal arrangements – or with which there is a mutual acceptance of WHO approved vaccines -- will be allowed to leave the airport and need not undergo home quarantine and testing from October 25, according to the revised guidelines for international arrivals released on Wednesday.
They will, however, produce a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report.
However, those who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated, and people coming from countries which do not have a WHO-recognised vaccine or mutual vaccination recognition with India, will have to take a Covid-19 test upon arrival. This will be followed by home quarantine for seven days, after which they will have to take a test again. If the test returns negative, further self-monitoring for seven more days will be necessitated.
These guidelines for international arrivals supersede all guidelines issued on the subject on and after February 17, 2021, the Union health ministry said.
The new document provides protocols to be complied with by international travellers as well those to be followed by airlines, points of entry (airports, seaports and land border) for risk profiling of passengers.
This Standard Operating Procedure shall be valid from October 25 till further orders. Based on the risk assessment, this document shall be reviewed from time to time, the ministry said.
According to the ministry, India has signed agreements for mutual recognition of nationally or WHO recognised COVID-19 vaccines with 11 countries - the UK, France, Germany, Nepal, Belarus, Lebanon, Armenia, Ukraine, Belgium, Hungary and Serbia.
Travellers coming from these countries, who are fully vaccinated, and 15 days have elapsed since completion of COVID-19 vaccination schedule, they shall be allowed to leave the airport and shall self-monitor their health for 14 days post arrival, according to the revised guidelines.
All travellers should submit self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal before the scheduled travel and upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report. This test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey, according to the guidelines.
Each passenger shall also submit a declaration with respect to authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution, if found otherwise.
The list of countries from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India, including post-arrival testing (countries at-risk), are South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and countries in Europe.
If travellers under home quarantine or self-health monitoring develop signs and symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19 on re-testing, they will immediately self-isolate and report to their nearest health facility or call national helpline number (1075) or the state helpline number.
Thermal screening would be carried out in respect of all the passengers by the health officials present at the airport. The self-declaration form filled online shall be shown to the airport health staff.
The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to medical facility. If tested positive, their contacts shall be identified and managed under laid down protocol.
Based on reciprocity, travellers from all such countries which provide quarantine-free entry to Indians are allowed certain relaxations on arrival (Category A countries).
During in-flight crew shall ensure that Covid-appropriate behaviour is followed, and if any passenger reports symptoms of COVID-19 during flight, he/she shall be isolated as per protocol.