A negative RT-PCR test report is still mandatory for all passengers travelling from the UAE to India, the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi clarified today. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: A COVID-19 RT-PCR test conducted within 72 hours before departure will continue to be mandatory for passengers travelling from the UAE to India when the latest travel guidelines in India come into effect on February 14, Gulf News has learnt.

The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi has confirmed that the exemption from the pre-departure RT-PCR test for passengers who are fully vaccinated will not be applicable to passengers from the UAE. This is because the UAE has not been mentioned in the list of countries whose vaccination programmes the Indian government recognises, as part of a reciprocal programme, a spokesperson for the embassy clarified. “I would say that the guidelines are self-explanatory and they supercede all those that came before it,” he said.

Air Suvidha web portal

According to the new guidelines announced by the Indian Ministry of Health and Welfare, all foreign arrivals must fill a self-declaration form available on the Air Suvidha web portal, including a 14-day travel history. They must also upload a negative RT-PCR test report that was conducted within 72 hours of the trip.

As per the new rules, passengers can alternatively upload a certificate confirming they have received both vaccine doses. However, this option will only be available for passengers arriving from 82 countries whose vaccination programmes the Indian government recognises as part of a reciprocal programme.

The UAE has not been included in the list issued by the Indian ministry, meaning passengers from here will still have to upload the RT-PCR negative report on Air Suvidha.

Each passenger must also submit a declaration with respect to authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution, if found otherwise.

They should also give an undertaking on the portal or otherwise to Ministry of Civil Aviation through the airlines before they are allowed to undertake the journey that they would abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority on any post arrival requirement to undergo home/institutional quarantine/ self-health monitoring, as warranted, said the new rules.

No quarantine

However, passengers from the UAE will be exempted from the mandatory seven-day quarantine and the eighth day RT-PCR test, just like all other international passengers.

According to the new guidelines, international passengers will only be required to self-monitor for 14 days for symptoms as against the present seven-day home quarantine rule from February 14.

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“All travellers will self-monitor their health for the next 14 days of arrival. If travellers under self-health monitoring develop signs and symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, they will need to immediately self-isolate and report to their nearest health facility or call the National helpline number (1075)/ State Helpline Number,” the ministry stated.

It added that the need for undertaking the RT-PCR test on the eighth day after travel and uploading the same on Air Suvidha portal has also been dropped.

Some Indian states had already taken similar steps, allowing passengers to just self-monitor for symptoms and test if any symptoms develop. The exemption from quarantine will now be applicable across India from February 14.