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India removes pre-departure RT-PCR for those fully vaccinated in 82 countries; no test on Day 8

India has taken its biggest decision yet in terms of international passengers arriving into India since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting 00:01 hours on 14th February 2022, fully vaccinated international passengers will be able to upload their certificate of completing full primary COVID-19 vaccination schedule in 82 countries on a mutually accepted basis. The Union health ministry has also removed the list of at-risk countries and replaced it with another list of countries in respect of which primary vaccination schedule completion certificate is allowed to be uploaded. These countries are: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Maldives, New Zealand, Netherlands, Qatar, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States. The 82 countries are:

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Angola
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bangladesh
  • Bahrain
  • Belarus
  • Botswana
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Cambodia
  • Chile
  • Columbia
  • Commonwealth of Dominica
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Georgia
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Iran
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Liechtenstein
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • New Zealand
  • Netherlands
  • Nicaragua
  • North Macedonia
  • Oman
  • Paraguay
  • Panama
  • Portugal
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • San Marino
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • State of Pelastine
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • The United Kingdom
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United States of America
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • Zimbabwe

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In addition, the requirement of 7-day home quarantine and a COVID test on day 8 after arrival will also go from 14th February 2022.

The revised guidelines states:

All travellers should (a) Submit complete and factual information in self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal (https://www.newdelhiairport.in/airsuvidha/apho-registration) before the scheduled travel, including last 14 days travel details…. (b) Upload a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR report (The test should have been conducted within 72 hrs prior to undertaking the journey) or certificate of completing full primary vaccination schedule of Covid-19 vaccination.

Thermal screening would be carried out in respect of all passengers.. passengers found symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to medical facility as per health protocol. If tested positive, their contacts shall be identified and managed as per laid down protocol.

It adds:

2% of the total passengers in flight shall undergo random post- arrival testing at the airport on arrival. Such travellers in each flight shall be identified by the concerned airlines (preferably from different countries). They will submit the samples and shall be allowed to leave the airport. If such travellers are tested positive, their samples should be further sent for genomic testing at INSACOG laboratory network. They shall be treated/isolated as per laid down standard protocol.

Each passenger will also have to submit a declaration with respect to authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution, if found otherwise. The passengers will have to continue to give an undertaking on the portal through concerned airlines before they are allowed to undertake the journey that they would abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority any post arrival requirement to undergo home/institutional quarantine/ self-health monitoring.

The guidelines also state that all travellers will have to self-monitor their health for next 14 days after arrival. If travellers under self-health monitoring develop signs and symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, they will immediately self-isolate and report to their nearest health facility or call national helpline number (1075)/ state helpline number.

What do you think of India removing pre-departure testing for international travellers arriving in India who are vaccinated in one of the 82 countries mentioned above? Let me know in the comments section below.

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