Travellers fully vaccinated and coming from a country with which India has reciprocal arrangements for mutual acceptance of WHO approved COVID-19 vaccines shall be allowed to leave the airport and need not undergo home quarantine and testing from October 25, according to the revised guidelines for international arrivals released on October 20.
They will, however, have to produce a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report. If partially or not vaccinated, the travellers need to undertake measures which include submission of sample for post-arrival COVID-19 test at the point of arrival after which they will be allowed to leave the airport, home quarantine for seven days, re-test on the eighth day of arrival in India and if negative, further self monitor their health for next seven days.
These guidelines for international arrivals supersede of all guidelines issued on the subject on and after February 17, 2021, the Union health ministry said.
“The global trajectory of COVID-19 pandemic continues to decline with certain regional variations. The need to monitor the continuously changing nature of virus and evolution of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) must still remain in focus. The existing guidelines (issued on 17 February 2021 with subsequent addendums) for international arrivals in India have been formulated taking a risk-based approach. In view increasing vaccination coverage across the globe and the changing nature of the pandemic, the existing guidelines for international arrivals in India have been reviewed,” the ministry said.
The new document provides protocols to be complied with international travellers as well those to be followed by airlines, points of entry (airports, seaports and land border) for risk profiling of passengers.
This Standard Operating Procedure shall be valid from October 25 till further orders. Based on the risk assessment, this document shall be reviewed from time to time, the ministry said.
According to the ministry, India has signed agreements for mutual recognition of nationally or WHO recognised COVID-19 vaccines with 11 countries – the UK, France, Germany, Nepal, Belarus, Lebanon, Armenia, Ukraine, Belgium, Hungary and Serbia.
Travellers coming from these countries who are fully vaccinated and 15 days have elapsed since completion of COVID-19 vaccination schedule, they shall be allowed to leave the airport and shall self monitor their health for 14 days post arrival, according to the revised guidelines.
While planning for travel, all travellers should submit self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal before the scheduled travel and upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report. This test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey, according to the guidelines.