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International Passengers Seeking Quarantine Exemption Need to Submit 72-Hr Prior Negative RT-PCR Test

View of departures area at Hamad International airport in Doha, Qatar, REUTERS/Deepa Babington

View of departures area at Hamad International airport in Doha, Qatar, REUTERS/Deepa Babington

The government on Thursday issued a set of revised guidelines for international arriving travellers seeking exemption from institutional quarantine.

The government on Thursday issued a set of revised guidelines for international arrivals, under which travellers seeking exemption from institutional quarantine will need to submit a negative RT-PCR report 72 hours before undertaking the journey. The India-bound passengers can also undergo COVID-19 testing at the airports where the provisions are available.

According to the guidelines issued by the Health ministry, passengers would need to give an undertaking on the portal or to the Ministry of Civil Aviation through concerned airlines before they are allowed to undertake the journey, stating that they would abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority to undergo facility/ home quarantine/self-monitoring of their health for 14 days, or as warranted.

"Only for compelling reasons/ cases of human distress such as pregnancy, death in family, serious illness and parent(s) with children of the age of 10 years or below, home quarantine may be permitted for 14 days," it said. For seeking exemption, they would need to apply to the online portal at least 72 hours before boarding the flight to India. The decision taken by the government as communicated on the online portal will be final, it said.

"Travellers may also seek exemption from institutional quarantine by submitting a negative RT-PCR test report. This test should have been conducted within 72 hrs prior to undertaking the journey. The test report should be uploaded on the portal for consideration," the guidelines said. The guidelines stated that international passengers arriving without an RT-PCR negative certificate and wishing to seek exemption from institutional quarantine may also avail the facility to undergo testing at the airports where such provisions exist. "International passengers arriving without RT-PCR negative certificate and not opting for RT PCR test at airport (if facility is available) /arriving at an airport where testing facility is not available will have to undergo mandatory 7 days' institutional quarantine and 7 days' home quarantine," it said.

"The passengers who have been exempted from institutional quarantine will show the same to the respective state counters on their cell phones/other mode before being allowed home quarantine for 14 days," it said. The remaining passengers shall be taken to suitable institutional quarantine facilities, to be arranged by the respective State/UT Governments to undergo mandatory seven days' institutional quarantine and seven days' home quarantine, it said.

These passengers shall be kept under institutional quarantine for a minimum period of seven days, the guidelines said. They will be tested as per ICMR protocol. If they are assessed as asymptomatic / pre-symptomatic/ very mild cases, they will be allowed home isolation or isolated at a Covid Care Centre (both public and private facilities) as appropriate, it said, adding that those with mild/ moderate/ severe symptoms will be admitted to dedicated Covid Health facilities and managed accordingly. International passengers arriving through seaports/land ports will also have to undergo the same protocol as above, except that facility for online registration is not available for such passengers currently, the guidelines said.

"Such passengers shall submit the self-declaration form to the concerned authorities of Government of India at seaports/land ports on arrival. If found negative, they shall be advised to self-monitor their health for additional 7 days," it said. Dos and Don'ts shall be provided along with ticket to the travellers by the airlines/agencies concerned, and all passengers will be advised to download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices at the time of boarding the flight.

Only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board the flights after thermal screening. Suitable precautionary measures such as environmental sanitation and disinfection shall be ensured at the airports, the guidelines said. These revised guidelines supersede those issued on the subject on August 2.

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