India no longer requires international passengers arriving from China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand, or Japan to present a negative Covid-19 test report, as the number of daily Covid-19 cases has decreased across several countries. The Union Health Secretary announced the changes last week.
International travellers to India will no longer be required to present a Covid-19 test report or upload the ‘Air Suvidha’ form beginning on Monday (February 13).
However, random testing of 2% of international passengers will continue at airports.
The Union Health Secretary had informed the Secretary of Aviation of the updated international arrivals guidelines in a written statement sent last week.
In the statement it is mentioned that as part of its proactive yet graduated public health response to Covid-19 management, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has periodically updated the ‘Guidelines for International Arrivals’. Based on the increasing trajectory of Covid-19 and the circulation of mutant variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in certain countries, the Ministry mandated pre-departure Covid-19 testing and the uploading of a Self-Health Declaration on the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s ‘Air Suvidha’ Portal in the previous update.
Nonetheless, as observed over the course of the last four weeks, these countries are experiencing a sustained and significant decline in Covid-19 cases. In addition, according to the World Health Organization’s most recent situational update on Covid-19, the number of newly confirmed cases has decreased by 89 percent in the past 28 days compared to the previous 28 days. Less than 100 new cases per day have been reported in India, where the incidence of the disease continues to decline.
In light of these observations, the Ministry is revising its ‘Guidelines for International Arrivals’ and dropping the existing requirements of pre-departure Covid-19 testing and uploading of Self-Health Declaration on the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s ‘Air Suvidha’ portal for international travellers arriving from/via China, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, and Japan.
In order to monitor infections due to mutated variants of SARS-CoV-2 among international travellers to India, the current practise of randomly testing 2% of international travellers (regardless of country of origin) upon arrival in India will continue.