The government has made random Covid tests mandatory for two per cent of passengers arriving on each international flight irrespective of their port of departure. Besides, passengers arriving in India from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand are being mandatorily required to provide Covid negative reports from January 1.
The test has to be conducted within 72 hours of undertaking the journey to India and the negative report from the RT-PCR test has to be uploaded on the Air Suvidha portal before departure.
This will also apply to passengers transiting through the six countries irrespective of their originating nations before coming to any Indian Airport, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in a letter to his Civil Aviation Ministry counterpart Rajiv Bansal on Monday.
“Accordingly, the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s Air Suvidha Portal has to be made operational for passengers on all international flights from these countries, with a provision to allow international travellers arriving in India to submit negative RT-PCR test reports as well as a self-declaration form on this portal,” he said in the letter.
“This arrangement is in practice with effect from 10 am on Sunday, January 1, 2023,” the letter said.
In a tweet on Monday, Mandaviya said, “Reviewed Air Suvidha system and RT-PCR testing facilities for international passengers at the IGI Airport, New Delhi.”
He also visited the Airport Health Organization (APHO) office and interacted with the officials there.
“Passengers arriving from six high-risk countries are now mandatorily required to upload their negative RT-PCR test reports in the Air Suvidha portal within 72 hours of undertaking their journey to India while travellers from other countries are being randomly tested at the airports upon their arrival in India.
“This is being done to ensure that genome sequencing of any positive case is promptly done to understand the strength and behaviour of any new variants,” the Union Health Minister stated.
Underscoring the challenge posed by the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in some countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the United States, Mandaviya stressed the importance of remaining alert against emerging strains of COVID-19.
Urging people to follow Covid appropriate behaviour and get vaccinated, he said the Centre was taking all necessary measures to ensure effective preparation and management of the emerging COVID-19 scenario.
Amid a spike in coronavirus cases in some countries, the government has sounded an alert, tightened Covid guidelines and asked states and Union territories to prepare for any eventuality.