India's new rules for international flyers kick in from today as new COVID-19 variant Omicron spreads

Cases of Omicron, deemed as a 'variant of concern' by the World Health Organization, have been detected in countries across the globe — spanning from United Kingdom to Japan

FP Staff December 01, 2021 09:14:12 IST
India's new rules for international flyers kick in from today as new COVID-19 variant Omicron spreads

File photo of air passengers wearing protective suits walking out of the arrival lounge of the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata. AFP

In light of the rapidly spreading Omicron variant, the government has issued new rules for international travellers arriving in India and these will kick into effect from Wednesday.

First detected in Botswana and then termed as a 'variant of concern' by the World Health Organization, cases of Omicron have now been found in various countries across the world — spanning from United Kingdom to Japan.

Multiple countries have already shut their doors to African nations in a bid to stop the spread of the new COVID-19 variant.

Here’s a look at the rules mandated by the government of India for international flyers.

• All international travellers arriving in India will be required to fill a self-declaration form (SDF) and share a copy of their negative RT-PCR test report taken 72 hours prior with the airlines before boarding the aircraft.
• Passengers originating or transiting from at-risk countries shall be informed by the airlines that they will undergo post-arrival testing, quarantine if tested negative, stringent isolation protocols if tested positive.
• According to an updated list, the countries designated as 'at-risk' are the European countries, the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.
• Passengers will undergo a RT-PCR test at the point of arrival (self-paid). If negative, passengers can depart the airport but undergo home isolation for seven days, followed by repeat testing on the eighth day of arrival in India, followed by seven days of self-monitoring.
• If they test positive, the passengers will be isolated as per clinical management protocol and their samples will be taken for Whole Genome Sequencing.
• The contacts of such positive cases should be kept under institutional quarantine or at home quarantine monitored strictly by the concerned State Government as per laid down protocol.
• Travellers from countries excluding those ‘Countries at risk’, will be allowed to leave the airport and shall self-monitor their health for 14 days' post-arrival.

The Maharashtra government has also mandated new rules in lieu of the Omicron variant. Those flying to Maharashtra will have to follow these instructions:

• All international passengers arriving from ‘at-risk’ countries will have to undergo a mandatory seven-day institutional quarantine.
• These passengers will also be required to take RT-PCR tests for COVID-19 thrice — on the second, fourth, and seventh days after arrival.
• Passengers who test negative will have to undergo an additional seven days of home quarantine.
• International passengers travelling to the state will have to submit a declaration detailing the countries they have visited in the last 15 days; this will be cross-checked by immigration on arrival.
• Passengers from countries other than those designated ‘at-risk’ by the Union government will have to compulsorily undergo RT-PCR tests at the airport on arrival and undergo two weeks of institutional quarantine at home if the test is negative

With inputs from agencies

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