The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) recently said that the suspension of scheduled commercial overseas flights has been extended until January 31. This would be consistent with the procedure that has been in effect from the start of Covid-19 in India in March 2020. In addition, India has updated its list of ‘at-risk’ nations, from which travelers must comply with additional health standards. Individuals will also be needed to provide a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test report that is no more than 72 hours old. Any falsified claims will subject the traveler to criminal prosecution.
What travelers must know?
Travelers from 12 high-risk nations will be screened and monitored more closely. The countries name includes Europe, United Kingdom, South Africa, as well as Botswana, Israel, Hong Kong, Brazil, Bangladesh, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Singapore, and Zimbabwe. Travelers must take the Covid test upon arrival and review the data at the terminal before departing or connecting flights. Once they test negative, individuals will be quarantined at home for seven days. They will be tested once more on the 8th day, and if the results are negative, travelers’ health will be monitored for the next 7 days as reported by The Indian Express.
If any travelers are found to be unwell during the inspection, they will be segregated and treated promptly at the nearest medical facility. They will have their specimens submitted to the Insacog network for genetic testing if their tests are positive. Individuals will be transferred to a secure isolation facility and treated in accordance with normal practice. The contacts of such positive cases will be subjected to institutionalized quarantine or home quarantine, which will be supervised by the relevant state authorities.
Could it indicate that all foreign flights will be abruptly cancelled?
No, the foreign flights that are now planned are running under special air-bubble arrangements, so they will continue to operate according to their timetable, as per Economic Times News Article. India has air bubble agreements with 32 nations, including the United States, Singapore, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and others. Travel to these nations, however, will be dependent on local health regulations.
When can we expect regular foreign flights to resume?
India had declared the restart of normal foreign flights on December 15, however that resolution was rescinded due to the Omicron form of Covid-19. The DGCA stated that a new implementation of restart would be announced in due course. The resuming was to be measured, with a gradual reopening for nations deemed ‘at-risk.’
According to Business Insider, amongst some of the ‘at-risk’ nations, if India has an air bubble arrangement, international flights would have restarted at 70-75% capacity, as agreed in bilateral agreements, and 40-50% capacity for those without an air bubble. There have been no restrictions on flights for all nations not included on the ‘at-risk’ list.
What modifications have been made to the list of ‘at-risk’ nations?
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have withdrawn Singapore and Bangladesh from the list designated ‘at-risk’ nations, allowing travelers from these countries to fly to India without being quarantined. It has also added Ghana and Tanzania to the list.