India has brought in new procedures for international travellers entering the country amidst the increase in the spread of the mutant variants of Sars-CoV-2. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in cooperation with the Ministry of Civil Aviation, has introduced the Standard Operating Procedure for all international travellers, to be effective from February 22.
The country has mandated an authorized PCR certificate taken within 72 hours of the scheduled travel. It has to be uploaded on the Air Suvidha portal (www.newdelhiairport.in), along with a self-declaration form to be produced at the airport. However, travellers with emergency cases such as deaths are exempted from the test given that they get approval after applying in the portal at least 72 hours before boarding.
Passengers who fail to upload their Self Declaration Form with a negative PCR test report will be denied entry. According to the statement, travellers from the Middle East, UK and Europe should also include their travel history of the past 14 days in self-declaration.
As for transiting or non-transiting travellers from countries where the new variant has been detected, such as UK, Brazil and South Africa, they must provide a sample for testing upon entry into the Indian airports. Passengers that show negative will require to monitor their health for seven days and report to a medical facility if found symptomatic. In case of positive results, they are to follow treatment according to regulations put forth by the health authorities.
This new law will make travel difficult for gulf expatriates as it requires passengers to pay for the procedures.