India issues new guidelines to protect virus for international arrivals

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Newsnow Desk:  All international passengers entering India will have to undergo a mandatory quarantine of 14 days, according to new guidelines issued by India’s Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare. All travellers will have to give an undertaking for the 14-day quarantine before boarding a ship or a flight.

The quarantine period would include seven days of paid institutional quarantine at the expense of passengers, followed by seven days of isolation at home with self-monitoring of health, the guidelines said.

However, for exceptional and compelling reasons such as cases of human distress, pregnancy, death in family, serious illness and parents accompanied by children below 10 years, as per assessment by the receiving states, home quarantine may be permitted for 14 days, the ministry said. In such an exceptional case, the use of the Aarogya Setu app will be mandatory.

Aarogya Setu app

All inbound passengers have been advised to download Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices, and at the time of boarding the flight or ship, only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board after thermal screening.

Passengers arriving through the land borders will also have to undergo the same protocol and only those who are asymptomatic will be allowed to cross the border into India.

A self-declaration form in duplicate shall be filled by the person in the flight or ship and a copy of the same will be given to health and immigration officials present at the port of entry. The form may also be made available on Aarogya Setu app, the guidelines said.

Apart from the sanitisation and disinfection of airports and flights along with maintenance of social distancing norms, the ministry has also suggested wearing masks, maintaining environmental hygiene, respiratory hygiene and hand hygiene for airline and ship crew and all passengers.

Thermal screening

On arrival, thermal screening will be carried out for all passengers by the health officials present at the port of entry.

The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to a medical facility as per health protocol. The remaining passengers shall be taken to suitable institutional quarantine facilities, to be arranged by the respective state and union territory governments, the guidelines said.

If travelers are found to be coronavirus positive, they shall be assessed clinically, the guidelines said. If the cases are mild, they will be allowed home isolation or isolated in the Covid Care Centre, either public and private facilities, as appropriate.

“Those having moderate or severe symptoms will be admitted to dedicated COVID Health facilities and managed accordingly,” the guidelines said.

India is likely to open up inbound international travel in the next couple of months. All international travel has been suspended for more than two months as India went into a lockdown in March amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Domestic travel

Domestic travel resumes on Monday, although with limited operations. The federal Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Saturday that international flight operations from India might commence from July depending upon the circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 outbreak.

“If the situation eases and improves, by that I mean if the virus behaves in a predictable manner, we get used to the idea of being able to coexist with the virus and we are in a position to make arrangements,” he said.

“So far, the ‘Vande Bharat’ mission has moved very well and I am confident that when domestic flights start, they will also proceed very well… So why not start (international flights) by June middle or June end or July,” Puri added.


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