The Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation has announced revised COVID-19 guidelines for international arrivals. This move comes as certain countries in Asia have seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the past weeks.
As of 1st January 2023, any traveller arriving from Singapore, Thailand, Japan, China, Hong Kong or South Korea will have to present a negative RT-PCR test report conducted no more than 72 hours before the commencement of the journey (It is advised to re-check the guidelines with your respective airline if flying from any of these six countries on or after 1st January 2023).
In addition to this, the government of India will also require travellers to fill a self-declaration form on Air-Suvidha portal. Passengers will have to upload their negative COVID-19 test reports on this portal only.
Random testing of 2% of arriving passengers in each international flight (regardless of the country it is arriving from) will also continue.
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This can affect air traffic to some extent
The re-introduction of submitting a RT-PCR test report can deter some travellers from travelling to these countries. Countries like Thailand and Singapore are tourist hotspots for Indians. Over the course of 2022, the tourism industries in these countries have slowly picked pace. Indians account for a major chunk of the total tourists in these countries.
Due to these measures, travellers may avoid going to these countries and if this happens in mass numbers, then this can be a serious problem.
I personally feel that these measures are somewhat half-done. If a traveller wants to come to India from let’s say Thailand, he/she can just take a flight to Vietnam first and then board a flight to India. This way, he/she will not have to submit a negative test report (this is correct if and only if the Indian government does not check the history of each and every traveller). So instead of putting measures on arrivals from only certain countries, the government should either put the restrictions for all countries or else it should not be done.
What do you think of the measures put in place by the Indian government to tackle the surge in COVID-19 cases? Let me know in the comments section below.