File image for illustrative purposes: Passengers check out from the Kochi International Airport in Kochi, Kerala. Image Credit: ANI

New Delhi: India has revised guidelines for international arrivals that include scrapping of the category of ‘at risk’ countries and recommending self-monitoring for 14 days for symptoms as against the present seven-day home quarantine rule.

The new guidelines announced on Thursday will take effect from February 14, the Federal Health Ministry said, Indian media reported.The ministry stressed the “need to monitor the continuously changing” COVID-19 virus but also acknowledged that “economic activities need to be taken up in an unhindered manner”.

Self-declaration form to be filled

All foreign arrivals must fill a self-declaration form available at the Air Suvidha web portal, including a 14-day travel history, NDTV has reported. They must also upload a negative RT-PCR test that was conducted within 72 hours of the travel date.

Vaccination certificate

Alternatively, they can also upload a certificate confirming they have received both vaccine doses. This option, however, is only available for passengers arriving from 72 countries whose vaccination programmes the Indian government recognises as part of a reciprocal programme. These countries include Canada, Hong Kong, the United States, the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Qatar, Australia, New Zealand, and some European nations, NDTV said

“Airlines [will] allow boarding [of] only those passengers who have filled in all the information in the self-declaration form... and uploaded the negative RT-PCR test report or COVID-19 vaccination certificate...” the Health Ministry has said.

“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 COVID19, they will immediately self-isolate and report to their nearest health facility or call National helpline number (1075)/ State Helpline Number.”

Earlier, it was mentioned in the guidelines that the report of the international passengers are negative, they will further self-monitor their health for the next 7 days.

RT-PCR test on 8th day also dropped

"Besides uploading negative RT-PCR report (taken 72 hrs prior to journey), option to upload a certificate of completing full primary vaccination schedule of COVID-19 vaccination provided from countries on a reciprocal basis. 14 days Self-Monitoring post-arrival as against 7 days Home Quarantine as was mandated earlier. Need for undertaking RT-PCR test on 8th day and uploading the same on Air Suvidha portal is dispensed with,” the Union Health Minister further tweeted.

In fresh guidelines, it is also mentioned that the mandatory 72-hour report of RT-PCR is not required anymore and the travellers can show their full Vaccination Certificate.