Amid fears over a new Covid variant ‘Omicron’ – classified as a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation (WH)),the Centre has announced a revised set of guidelines for international fliers. All international passengers must submit 14 days’ travel history and upload negative Covid test results on the government’s Air Suvidha portal, the government said. The new guidelines are effective from December 1, 2021.
Omicron scare: New rules for international fliers
Planning for Travel
-All travellers should
a) Submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal before the scheduled travel, including the last 14 days travel details.
b) Upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report*. This test should have been conducted within 72 hrs prior to undertaking the journey.
c) Each passenger shall also submit a declaration with respect to the authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution if found otherwise.
-They should also give an undertaking on the portal or otherwise to the 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/institutional quarantine/ self-health monitoring, as warranted.
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.
Do’s and Don’ts shall be provided along with tickets to the travellers by the airlines/agencies concerned.
Airlines to allow boarding by only those passengers who have filled in the Self Declaration Form on the Air Suvidha portal, uploaded the negative RT-PCR test report.
At the time of boarding the flight, only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board after the thermal screening.
All passengers shall be advised to download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices.
In-flight announcements about COVID-19 including precautionary measures to be followed shall be made at airports and in flights and during transit.
During in-flight crew shall ensure that COVID appropriate behaviour is followed at all times.
If any passenger reports symptoms of COVID-19 during flight, he/she shall be isolated as per protocol.
De-boarding should be done ensuring physical distancing.
Thermal screening would be carried out in respect of all the passengers by the health officials present at the airport. The self-declaration form filled online shall be shown to the airport health staff.
The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to a medical facility as per health protocol. If tested positive, their contacts shall be identified and managed as per laid down protocol.
Travellers from specified Countries at risk will follow the protocol as detailed below:
Submission of sample for post-arrival COVID-19 test* at the point of arrival (self-paid). Such travellers will be required to wait for their test results at the arrival airport before leaving or taking a connecting flight.
If tested negative they will follow, home quarantine for 7 days. Re-test on the 8th day of arrival in India* and if negative, further self-monitor of their health for next 7 days.
However, if such travellers are tested positive, their samples should be sent for genomic testing at the INSACOG laboratory network.
They shall be managed at a separate isolation facility and treated as per laid down standard protocol including contact tracing mentioned in para (xiv).
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.
International travellers arriving at seaports/land ports
International travellers arriving through seaports/land ports will also have to undergo the same protocol as above, except that facility for online registration is not available for such passengers currently.
Such travellers shall submit the self-declaration form to the concerned authorities of the Government of India at seaports/land ports on arrival.
Children under 5 years of age are exempted from both pre-and post-arrival testing. However, if found symptomatic for COVID-19 on arrival or during the home quarantine period, they shall undergo testing and be treated as per laid down protocol.
Here’s a list of all countries that have so far reported Omicron cases:
- Botswana – 19 cases
- South Africa – 77 cases
- Nigeria – 3 cases
- United Kingdom – 22 cases
- South Korea –5 cases
- Australia – 7 cases
- Austria – 1 case
- Belgium – 1 case
- Brazil – 3 cases
- Czech Republic – 1 case
- France –1case
- Germany –9 cases
- Hong Kong – 4 cases
- Israel – 4 cases
- Italy – 9 cases
- Japan – 2 cases
- Netherlands – 16 cases
- Norway – 2 cases
- Spain –2 cases
- Portugal – 13 cases
- Sweden – 3 cases
- Canada – 6 cases
- Denmark –4 cases
- US- 1 case