NEW DELHI — The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Sept. 2 imposed restrictions on passengers from additional countries, citing the reports of new mutations in SARS-CoV-2 and the rising number of “Variants of Concern (VOCs) and Variants of Interest (Vols) globally.”
Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan asked chief secretaries of States/Union Territories referring to the updated guidelines on international travel to strengthen their Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) activities.
The Ministry added South Africa, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, and Zimbabwe to the list that already includes the UK, EU, and Middle Eastern countries.
International travelers from all these countries would now need RT-PCR (Covid-19) negative reports to get on flights to India and RT-PCR testing upon arrival in India.
“Considering the reports of new mutations in SARS-CoV-2 and rising number of Variants of Concern (VOCs) and Variants of Interest (VOIs) globally, the following countries have been added in the scope of part B of MoHFW’s Guidelines on International Arrival, in addition to existing Countries in “Part-B,” i.e., United Kingdom, Europe, and the Middle East,” Bhushan said.
“More countries including South Africa, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, and Zimbabwe. International travelers from all these countries would now need RT-PCR negative reports to get on flights to India and RT-PCR testing upon arrival here.”
So far, passengers traveling from the UK, EU, and the Middle East were required to have a negative RT-PCR report before boarding a flight, and after that, a mandatory RT-PCR test upon arrival was also done in India.
As mandated in these Guidelines, international passengers undergo pre-arrival RT-PCR testing at least 72 hours before boarding.
Under the said guidelines, only asymptomatic passengers are allowed to board the flights to India.
While in the case of symptomatic and/or positive international travelers, States/Union Territories must continue to implement stringent public health measures of contact tracing, quarantine, testing, and ensuring Covid-19appropriate behavior.
“Travelers from the countries mentioned in Part B of the Guidelines as above are additionally to be tested on arrival in India through the RT-PCR test,” Bhushan said.
“As also reiterated in previous communications, States/UTs must ensure strict compliance to these guidelines so that the import of VOIs and VOCs to India from other countries may be prevented.”
On domestic travel, the Ministry released its updated guidelines on Aug. 25.
“Union government has not recommended any restrictions on interstate travel in the context of Covid-19,” said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in a statement.
“Further, States were allowed to develop their protocols with regards to quarantine and isolation as per their assessment. However, it has come to notice that certain States have imposed negative RT-PCR testing reports as a criterion for point of entry in their states.
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Saptak Datta and Praveen Pramod Tewari
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