India issues guidelines for travellers regarding new Covid-19 strains

18 February 2021 (Last Updated February 18th, 2021 16:59)

The Indian Government has issued updated guidelines for international travellers arriving at any of the country's airports.

India issues guidelines for travellers regarding new Covid-19 strains
India issues new guidelines as new Covid-19 strains surface. Credit: Keith Chan/Unsplash.

The Indian Government has issued updated guidelines for international travellers arriving at any of the country’s airports.

The new standard operating procedures (SOP), which will come into effect from 22 February, are being introduced following new cases of the South African and Brazilian strains of coronavirus.

Under the new SOP, travellers who are coming from flights originating or transiting from the UK, Europe and the Middle East, will be required to reveal their travel history for the last 14 days.

Furthermore, these travellers are required to go through self-paid confirmatory molecular tests on their arrival at the country’s airports.

International passengers will also be required to submit a self-declaration form (SDF) for Covid-19 on the online Air Suvidha Portal before their travel.

The new norms supersede the ones issued on this subject on 2 August 2020.

The order stated: “The airport authority shall ensure streamlining of the systems for testing at the concerned airports to ensure seamless sampling, testing, and waiting arrangements to avoid crowding and inconvenience to passengers. Once passengers arrive at the entry airport, Airport Operator should lay down a well-defined flow for such passengers at their respective arrival terminals leading to the waiting lounges and to the exit from the terminal.”

The transit travellers from the UK, Brazil and South Africa will be permitted to take their connecting flights only if they come out negative on testing at the airport. These travellers have been advised to quarantine at home for seven days and regularly be followed up by the concerned state / district IDSP.

These travellers will have to be tested after seven days and if negative, can be released from quarantine, with further monitoring of their health for another seven days.

India has reported 187 cases of infection with the UK variant of Covid-19. Last month, four people were detected with the South African variant and one person with the Brazilian variant strain this month.