New air travel norms

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has issued fresh guidelines for international arrivals into India, which will be evaluated regularly.

The necessity to keep an eye on the virus’ ever-changing nature and the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) continues to be a priority. The earlier criteria for international arrivals in India (as on February 17, 2021 with subsequent addendums) were developed using a risk-based approach. The existing criteria for international arrivals in India have been re-assessed in light of increased vaccine coverage around the world and the changing character of the epidemic. According to the guidelines, foreign travellers, as well as airlines and points of entry must follow methods for risk profiling of passengers.

All travellers should:

  1. Submit self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal (www.newdelhiairport.in) before the scheduled flight.
  2. Upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report. This test should have been conducted within 72 hrs prior to the journey.
  3. Each passenger shall also submit a declaration with respect to authenticity of report and will be liable for criminal prosecution, if found otherwise.

They should also give an undertaking on the portal or otherwise to Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, through concerned airlines before they are allowed to undertake the journey that they would abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority to undergo home quarantine/self-health monitoring, as warranted. Travellers from specified countries (based on epidemiological situation of COVID-19 in those countries) are identified for additional follow up. These include need for additional measures as made available on the websites of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

Countries with mutual recognition of vaccinations or whose citizens are exempt from quarantine on reciprocal basis can be found on Ministry of External Affairs site and Air Suvidha Portal

This is also a dynamic list. Travellers from Category ‘A’ Countries shall upload their fully vaccinated certificate on Air Suvidha portal.

Before boarding

The airlines/agencies concerned will present travellers with Do’s and Don’ts along with their tickets. Airlines will only allow passengers to board if they have completed the Self Declaration Form on the Air Suvidha portal and uploaded a negative RT-PCR test data. Only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the flight after undergoing thermal screening. All travellers are urged to download Aarogya Setu app.

During travel

At airports, on flights, and during transit, an in-flight announcement about COVID-19 will be issued. During the flight, the crew must ensure that COVID guidelines are observed at all times.  If a passenger exhibits COVID-19 symptoms during the flight, he or she will be isolated.

On arrival

Deboarding should be done with physical distance in mind.  All passengers will be subjected to a thermal screening at airport.  The online self-declaration form must be shown to the airport health officials.  Passengers who display signs during screening will be immediately segregated and transported to a medical facility in compliance with health procedure. If they are found to be positive, their contacts will be identified and managed as per policy.

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