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‘Glad to be back home’: What to expect when you fly to New Delhi airport during COVID-19 pandemic

Source: Supplied

International travellers flying to New Delhi airport are now subjected to new measures that are in place to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Here we share some experiences by an Indian family who recently travelled from Melbourne to New Delhi on a charter flight.

New Delhi’s international airport terminal is one of the busiest terminals in the world. 

Despite the coronavirus challenges, India’s Vande Bharat Mission and many private charter flights have been continually bringing thousands of passengers to the capital city from around the world.

Melbourne-based Rajinder Singh’s elderly parents recently travelled from Melbourne to New Delhi on a charter flight.


Highlights:

  • Thousands of passengers are travelling to India despite coronavirus challenges
  • International travellers need to follow new COVID-19 procedures at New Delhi airport
  • A mandatory form about health status must be filled prior to flying, via Air Suvidha

Mr Singh said his parents were mentally well prepared for this ‘challenging journey’ and are now glad to be back home.

“It was expected to be tough given the current set of circumstances. We knew it is going to be challenging given their old age, but we are glad that we made this decision,” he said. 

Rajinder Singh's parents came to Australia on a visitor visa.
Rajinder Singh's parents travelled to India on a repatriation flight from Melbourne to New Delhi.
Supplied

Mr Singh said the time taken to clear immigration and other formalities before exiting the terminal varies.

“I believe a large proportion of incoming passengers are from Punjab, and hence, they may face some longer queues and delays to get through the immigration counters,” he said.

“It took my parents around 8 hrs to go outside the terminal. It was primarily due to the current checks and restrictions that are in place due to the coronavirus. It is quite a hassle, but my parents were ok to face it, given the current situation.”

Mr Singh advised people to be aware of new COVID-19 checks and measures that are in place at the airport.

“You must check the requirement before you embark for this journey. It will make your life easier and help you adjust to the current situation as authorities battle to stop the spread of the virus." 

According to the instructions set by the New Delhi airport authorities, all International arriving passengers are now required to fill the self-reporting form as mandated by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

Air Suvidha is an online system for International passengers to submit mandatory self-reporting form to declare their current health status. This form is mandatory and should be filled before boarding,” states their website.

The form can be filled and submitted online with supporting documents 72 hrs before boarding any flights. 

Passengers may also seek exemption from mandatory institutional quarantine if any of the following five situations apply to them:

·       Pregnant women

·       If there has been a death in the family

·       If they are suffering from a serious illness

·       Parents accompanied by children below 10 years of age, and

·       If you have a Covid-19 negative certificate.

Click this link to read the latest COVID-19 travel updates by the New Delhi airport.

Listen to the podcast in Punjabi by clicking on the picture at the top. 

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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