India Issues New Guidelines For International Arrivals

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The Ministry of Health, Govt of India issued new ‘Guidelines for International Arrivals’ on Thursday, amid growing concern about a new Covid wave, with cases increasing in China, the United States, Brazil, South Korea, and Japan.

The updated guidelines include protocols that must be followed by international travellers as well as points of entry (airports, seaports, and land borders) and will be in effect from December 24, 2022, until further orders are issued.

Guidelines for International Arrivals In India

Planning for Travel

All travellers should preferably be fully vaccinated as per the approved primary schedule of vaccination against COVID-19 in their Country.

During Travel

In-flight announcements about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic including precautionary measures to be followed (preferable use of masks and following physical distancing) shall be made in flights/travel and at all points of entry.

Any passenger having symptoms of COVID-19 during travel shall be isolated as per standard protocol i.e. the said passenger should be wearing a mask, isolated and segregated from other passengers in flight/travel and shifted to an isolation facility subsequently for follow-up treatment.

On Arrival in India

De-boarding should be done ensuring physical distancing. v. Thermal screening should be done in respect of all the passengers by the health officials present at the point of entry.

The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated, and taken to a designated medical facility as per health protocol (as above).

The following protocol post arrival shall also be followed:

  • A sub-section (2% of the total passengers* in the flight) shall undergo random post-arrival testing at the airport on arrival.
  • Such travellers on each flight shall be identified by the concerned airlines (preferably from different countries). They will submit the samples and shall be allowed to leave the airport thereafter.
  • If such travellers’ samples are tested positive, their samples should be further sent for genomic testing at the INSACOG laboratory network.
  • They shall be treated/isolated as per the laid down standard protocol.

All travellers should self-monitor their health post arrival also shall report to their nearest health facility or call the National helpline number (1075)/ State Helpline Number in case they have any symptoms suggestive.

It is important to note that children under the age of 12 are exempt from post-arrival random testing. However, if they are found to be symptomatic for COVID-19 upon arrival or during the self-monitoring period, they will be tested and treated according to the protocol.

Random Testing at Airports

Recently, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya stated in Parliament that India has begun a 2% random sampling of international visitors to the country and may consider making it mandatory for all if necessary.

He made the remarks in response to questions from some Opposition MPs following his Rajya Sabha statement on the latest COVID-19 situation and India’s preparedness.

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