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New COVID-19 rules for international travellers kick in today

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NEW DELHI: JAN. 11 – With the new guidelines in view of the COVID-19 surge in the country kicking in on Tuesday, all international passengers coming to India must be mandatorily quarantined at home for seven days, followed by an RT-PCR test on the eighth day.

While isolating was earlier mandatory for those arriving from “at-risk” countries, the rules have been extended to all international passengers. On the eighth day, if they test negative, they will have to further self-monitor their health for the next 7 days. However, if found positive, they “shall be managed at an isolation facility” as per protocol and their samples will be sent for genomic surveillance.

The Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has also increased the list of “at-risk” countries from 12 to 19 last week. Eight more countries — Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia and Zambia — were added to the list. Earlier, countries in Europe, including the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Ghana, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Hong Kong and Israel were specified as “at-risk”. All travelers from these countries have to undergo mandatory RT-PCR tests on arrival. They must wait for the results at the airport before leaving or taking a connecting flight.

For other countries, about 2 percent of the total passengers on a flight undergo random tests on arrival at the airport, while all are required to “self-monitor” their health for 14 days post-arrival. Now, under the new guidelines, the RT-PCR test is mandatory for all of them on their eighth day of arrival.

According to the government’s press release, “all travelers shall also be required to upload results of RT-PCR test for Covid-19 done on 8th day on Air Suvidha portal.”

Further, all passengers must upload a negative Covid-report before boarding their flights.

The guidelines also exempt children under five years of age from pre-and post-arrival testing. “However, if found symptomatic for COVID-19 on arrival or during the home quarantine period, they shall undergo testing and be treated as per laid down protocol,” the guidelines state.

-Indian Express