India issues new guidelines for int'l travellers amid new COVID-19 variants
Published: Feb 18, 2021 09:51 AM

Travellers register themselves before getting swab testings for COVID-19 outside a bus station, in Bangalore, India, Feb. 17, 2021. Photo: Xinhua

The Indian government on Wednesday issued new guidelines for incoming international travellers in the wake of three variants of the COVID-19, which were first detected in Britain, South Africa and Brazil respectively, according to an official statement.

All three variants have demonstrated increased transmissibility, as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), said the statement issued by the health ministry.

So far, the mutant strain first found in South Africa has been detected in four returnees to India - one from Angola, one from Tanzania and two from South Africa.

Travellers register themselves with a health worker before getting swab testings for COVID-19 outside a bus station, in Bangalore, India, Feb. 17, 2021. Photo: Xinhua

Besides, a case of the variant first found in Brazil was detected in the first week of February in India, while 187 people have tested positive for the variant first detected in Britain.

The new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for international travellers shall be valid from Feb. 22.

Separate set of guidelines have been issued for international travellers coming in from Britain, Europe and the Middle East, and through flights originating from all other countries.

As per the new guidelines, all travellers should submit a self-declaration form before the scheduled travel, and upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report of a test conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey.

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 international travellers should also give an undertaking before they are allowed to travel within India that they would abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority to undergo home quarantine/self-monitoring of their health for 14 days, or as warranted.

Arrival in India without negative report shall be allowed only for those traveling to India in the exigency of death in the family.

On arrival in the country the passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to medical facility as per health protocol.

The ministers of health and civil aviation have reviewed the situation with regard to point of entry, and actions required to minimize the risk of importation of mutant strains of the virus.