International travelers arriving at Indian airports from the Middle East, Europe and the United Kingdom have been advised by the country’s ministry of civil aviation here to brace for longer wait times from Tuesday (Feb. 23).
This is in view of more stringent rules being introduced at entry points to minimize the risk of importation of new, mutant strains of coronavirus. “All three variants of the virus, from the UK, South Africa and Brazil, have demonstrated increased transmissibility,” the ministry warned.
Airlines operating flights into India have been advised that effective Tuesday, they should keep passengers informed about the need for transit time of a minimum six to eight hours at their airports of entry for connecting domestic flights. Many passengers arriving in India on transit flights through the Middle East connect to domestic flights to airports, which are not served by international airlines.
From Tuesday, all international travelers transiting on flights from the Middle East the UK and Europe are also required to declare their travel history of the previous 14 days in a self-declaration form at the Delhi airport portal before the scheduled travel.
This is also required for travelers originating from these points if they have a history of travel in the previous fortnight. The portal for self-declaration is www.newdelhiairport.in even for passengers whose destination in India is an airport other than Delhi.
The wide-ranging new rules require airlines to identify international travelers arriving from or transiting through the UK, Brazil and South Africa and segregate them in-flight or while disembarking to enable the authorities to follow the protocols in respect of countries with mutant and more contagious strains of coronavirus.
“All travelers arriving from or transiting through flights from the Middle East, Europe or the UK, shall be subjected to self-paid confirmatory molecular tests on arrival at Indian airports,” the ministry has ordered.
Travelers from the UK, Brazil and South Africa who are found negative upon being tested at the airport shall be allowed to take their connecting flights followed by quarantine at home for a week at their final destination. These travelers shall be tested after seven days and if negative, released from quarantine, with their health monitored for a further seven days.
Other requirements from arriving passengers such as a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report of 72 hours validity which have been in force since India allowed a limited resumption of international flights in August last year shall continue to be enforced, the ministry said. — WAM