Stock India airport Delhi
Terminal 3 at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India. Photo used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: If you are travelling to India over the winter break, there are new guidelines that you would need to keep in mind with regards to the COVID-19 protocol.

India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) issued the new ‘Guidelines for International Arrivals’ “in light of the increasing trajectory of COVID-19 cases being noted in some countries across the world”.

The Ministry said that the protocols that should be complied with by international travellers as well as points of entry and comes into effect from 10am Indian Standard Time (8.30am UAE), December 24.

Here are the details of the updated guidelines that have been announced:

COVID-19 vaccination

According to the advisory, all travellers should preferably be fully vaccinated as per the approved primary schedule of vaccination against COVID-19 in their country.

Masks and social distancing

As per the guidelines, in-flight announcements will be made about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including precautionary measures that should be followed, including the “preferable use of masks and following [of] physical distancing”.

Symptomatic passengers

Any passenger having symptoms of COVID-19 during travel will be isolated as per standard protocol, which is that the concerned passenger should be wearing a mask, should be isolated and segregated from other passengers in flight or during travel and shifted to an isolation facility subsequently for follow up treatment.

Protocol to follow on arrival in India

The guidelines state that:

1. De-boarding should be done while ensuring physical distancing.
2. Thermal screening should be done for all the passengers by the health officials present at the point of entry.
3. The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to a designated medical facility as per the health protocol stated above.
4. Two per cent of the total passengers in the flight will undergo random post-arrival testing at the airport. Travellers in each flight will be identified by the concerned airlines and should preferably be from different countries. They will be required to submit the samples, after which they will be allowed to leave the airport. Children under 12 years of age are exempted from post-arrival random testing. However, if found symptomatic for COVID-19 on arrival or during the self-monitoring period, they should undergo testing and receive treatment as per the laid down protocol.
5. If the travellers test positive, their samples need to be further sent for genomic testing at a laboratory within the network of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG).
6. They shall be treated or isolated as per laid down standard protocol.
7. All travellers should self-monitor their health post arrival. If they have any symptoms of COVID-19, they should also report to their nearest health facility or call National helpline number – 1075, or their State’s Helpline Number.