The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday imposed restrictions on passengers from additional countries, citing the reports of new mutations in SARS-CoV-2 and the rising number of "Variants of Concern (VOCs) and Variants of Interest (Vols) globally".
Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan asked chief secretaries of States/UTs referring to the updated guidelines on international travel to strengthen their Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) activities.
The Ministry has added to the list of UK, EU and Middle East more countries including South Africa, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand and Zimbabwe. International travellers from all these countries would now need RTPCR negative reports to get on flights to India and RTPCR testing upon arrival.
"Considering the reports of new mutations in SARS-CoV-2 and rising number of Variants of Concern (VoCs) and Variants of Interest (Vols) globally, the following countries have been added in the scope of part B of MoHFW's Guidelines on International Arrival, in addition to existing Countries in "Part-B" i.e. United Kingdom, Europe and Middle East," Bhushan said in a statement.
"More countries including South Africa, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand and Zimbabwe. International travellers from all these countries would now need RTPCR negative reports to get on flights to India and RTPCR testing upon arrival here," it added.
So far passengers travelling from the UK, EU and the Middle East were required to have a negative RTPCR report before boarding a flight and thereafter a mandatory RTPCR test upon arrival was also done in India.
As mandated in these Guidelines, international passengers are to undergo pre-arrival RT-PCR testing at least 72 hours before boarding. Under the said guidelines, only asymptomatic passengers are allowed to board the flights to India.
While in the case of symptomatic and/or positive international travellers, States/UTs must continue to implement stringent public health measures of contact tracing, quarantine, testing and ensuring COVID appropriate behaviour.
"Travellers from the countries mentioned in Part B of the Guidelines as above are additionally to be tested on arrival in India through the RT-PCR test. As also reiterated in previous communications, States/UTs must ensure strict compliance to these guidelines so that the import of Vols and VOCs to India from other countries may be prevented," the statement read further.
(With ANI inputs)