Industries elated as India eases Covid rules for foreign passengers
An airport employee wearing a face shield checks the body temperature of a passenger at an airport in India. (Photo by DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP via Getty Images)
IN a move that left industries and sectors such as tourism and hospitality relieved, India announced that it will relax norms for international passengers with effect from Monday (14).
“Caseloads both in India as well as globally are plummeting. The announcement for doing away with mandatory quarantine rules couldn’t be better-timed. Mandatory quarantine was resulting in many international travellers giving India a miss. We hope that the government resumes scheduled international flights as soon as possible to make most of the relaxation of earlier curbs,” Gaurav Bhatia, executive director of Bird Group, said.
The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) also welcomed the government’s decision to end the restriction of seven-day quarantine for all arrivals.
“We would further urge for early resumption of the normal schedule of International Flight Operations as per bilateral agreements which were in force before March 2020. Presently there are only limited air bubble flights that are operating to some selected countries and the airfares are exorbitant. Once normal international flight operations resume, airfares will come down drastically, and this will boost the arrival of foreign tourists to India,” Rajiv Mehra, president, IATO, said.
On Thursday (10), the Indian ministry of health and family welfare revised its guidelines for international arrivals after the coronavirus pandemic crisis situation improved.
The latest guidelines also removed the demarcation of ‘at-risk’ and other countries.
The country’s health ministry also recommended 14 days of self-monitoring post arrival as against the seven-day home quarantine.
India has also said that passengers coming from abroad will now have an option of either uploading a negative RT-PCR report, taken 72 hours before the journey, or a certificate of completing full primary vaccination schedule of Covid-19.
However, this option will only be valid if the vaccination certificates are mutually recognised by both countries in question.
“Besides uploading negative RT-PCR report (taken 72 hours prior to the journey), the option to upload certificate of completing full primary vaccination schedule of COVID-19 vaccination provided from countries on a reciprocal basis,” the government said.
The random sampling of two per cent of all international passengers will continue but the travellers can give their sample and will be allowed to exit the airport.
Also since the demarcation of countries as ‘at-risk’ and others has also been removed, no separate rules exist for ‘at-risk’ countries anymore.