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Indian citizens from Dubai arrive at Chennai airport. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Passengers travelling from the UAE to India for certain urgent and essential short visits need not undergo mandatory quarantine in some states that have recently relaxed quarantine rules, Gulf News can reveal.

Some states have relaxed quarantine rules for international passengers on short business visits, while some have become lenient for certain other categories of passengers as well.

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This is in addition to the exemption previously declared for people with compelling reasons such as pregnancy, death in family, emergency medical reasons etc and those carrying RT-PCR COVID-19 negative results prior to departure.

Due to varied rules in different states and union-territories, passengers are encouraged to check destination-specific rules through the respective government websites or airlines to avoid delays and difficulties in their journey.

The south Indian state of Kerala, which has seen the highest number of passenger traffic from the UAE during the COVID-19 pandemic, has exempted passengers who visit the state for a short period for purposes like business, official, trade, medical, court cases, property management from mandatory quarantine.

“The government has allowed them to visit the state for a period of up to seven days without mandatory quarantine, only after obtaining entry passes through the covid19jagratha portal. They shall provide the details of local itinerary along with the purpose of visit and local accommodation and contact person. Any deviations from this, during the visit, will have to be informed to the authorities with valid reasons,” the state has announced.

Its neighbouring state Karnataka has exempted passengers on business trip who would return within 48 hours, from quarantine.

“If duration of stay is more than 48 hours, but less than seven days, COVID-19 test will be done and after receiving negative report, they can complete their engagements and go back. Business or short-term visitors who come with negative RT-PCR test results are exempted from quarantine. The test should have been conducted within 96 hours prior to boarding,” according to the latest rules from Karnataka.

According to the Indian Consulate in Dubai, only two states — West Bengal and Tamil Nadu — have so far made pre-departure RT-PCR negative test result mandatory for international passengers, including those travelling through the UAE-India ‘air bubble’ during the pandemic.

Telangana has exempted passengers travelling for business reasons and having negative RT-PCR test conducted within 96 hours prior to departure from the requirement of home or institutional quarantine.

“However, the passengers should return within four days of arrival as evidenced by confirmed returned tickets,” the latest rule from Telangana stated.

Passengers exiting Uttar Pradesh within seven days of arrival shall be exempted from mandatory quarantine subject to validation of return or onward travel.

While there is no quarantine for business and corporate travellers in Madhya Pradesh, business travellers with confirmed return or onward tickets within four days of arrival and confirmed hotel reservation are exempted from quarantine and COVID-19 antigen test in Jammu and Kashmir.

Business persons whose journey period is less than seven days are exempted from quarantine in Uttarakhand also.

Meanwhile, passengers staying for less than five days in Ladakh need to carry a COVID-19 negative certificate using RT-PCR test, no later than 48 hours before their arrival from ICMR approved laboratories to avoid quarantine.

Exemption for members of same family

Assam is providing exemption from institutional quarantine to members of the same family travelling together if they are asymptomatic.

In Tripura, all passengers intending to exit the state within 72 hours of the arrival shall be exempted from quarantine with an advice to self-monitor their health if they test negative for Rapid Antigen Test on arrival.

“Anyone entering Nagaland for any urgent and essential work and is not in a position to quarantine, upon entry, he or she may give prior intimation to the respective district task force and if the period of stay is less than 48 hours, he or she may enter Nagaland after obtaining clearance, for performing the work and while following all health safety norms,” stated the new rules for quarantine exemption in Nagaland.

Tips to ease your travel

However, passengers from the UAE are encouraged to carry the RT-PCR test report to get exemption from paid institutional quarantine in all states.

“Most of the passengers — about 80 to 90 percent of them—from the UAE to India are now carrying RT-PCR test result to avoid institutional quarantine and for safety reasons,” said Neeraj Agrawal, consul for Press, Information and Culture. Several people are now going to India on short visits due to various reasons, he said.

“We would like to encourage them to take another test after reaching there if they are venturing out for some reasons and also follow the rules of the destination when they return,” he added.

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Passengers are also encouraged to upload the self-declaration health form through the Air Suvidha initiative on the portal of New Delhi Airport.

Several states also require passengers to upload their documents on websites specified by the state governments.

Tamil Nadu has made an auto generated ‘TN e-pass’ also mandatory for international passengers.