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'Latest travel rules issued by India are safety rules and we will follow them'

Amit Bhatia (R) with his wife Sonia and two sons at Melbourne airport. Source: Supplied by Amit Bhatia

The Indian government has revised its guidelines for international travellers arriving in the country. The new rules, effective 11 January, require international passengers to home quarantine for seven days.

India's Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) announced these rules on 7 January due to the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country.

The MoHFW said health officials will conduct a thermal screening of all international arrivals, including those from Australia. Those found symptomatic during screening will be isolated immediately and taken to a medical facility.

The government said it will select about two per cent of passengers from each flight for a random post-arrival COVID test at the airport. 

All passengers must undergo an RT-PCR test on the eighth day of their arrival.


Highlights:

  • Indian Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) revises travel guidelines for international travellers
  • All international passengers are required to undergo home quarantine for seven days, even if they test negative at the airport
  • Those tested positive shall be sent to isolation facilities 

Before arrival, all international travellers to India will need to register on the Air Suvidha portal and self-declare their travel details. They need to upload the negative COVID-19 test report obtained within 72 hours of departure, declare its authenticity, and submit an undertaking that they would abide by the decision of appropriate authority to undergo quarantine as per the latest guidelines. 

Children aged under five are exempted from both pre and post-arrival testing. However, they are required to undergo testing if found symptomatic for COVID-19 on arrival or during the home quarantine period. 

india travel
A healthcare worker collects a swab sample from a man to test for COVID-19, at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.
Mayank Makhija/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The new rules, however, have not affected the travel plans of Melbourne couple Amit and Sonia Bhatia. They are travelling to India with their two sons on Tuesday.

"We did RT-PCR tests for all four of us at the Melbourne airport by arriving 5 hours early. The staff at the airport is very helpful and provides you with any information you need regarding your travel," Ms Bhatia said.

"We think these measures are for our safety and that remains paramount. We will follow them once we reach our destination in India," she told SBS Hindi before boarding the flight.

The couple ensured they had all relevant paperwork, including passports, tickets, vaccine certificates and RT-PCR test results before they boarded the flight.

"We are happy at least we can travel back to India now and there is no border closure," Ms Bhatia said adding that the family has already made arrangements to quarantine for seven days upon their arrival.

Travellers from 20 countries (South Africa, Brazil, China, New Zealand, the UK, Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Hong Kong, Israel, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Zambia) will have to follow additional measures, according to the Indian government.

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