There was no requirement for mandatory COVID-19 testing when US President Donald Trump visited India from February 24 to 25, the government said on Tuesday. Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan, in a written reply to a query in Rajya Sabha, said the mandatory screening for COVID-19 of all international passengers arriving in India was implemented from March 4.
The minister was asked whether the US President's staff and delegation were tested for the COVID-19 during the visit. "At the time of President Trump's visit, that is February 24-25, there was no requirement of mandatory COVID-19 test for travellers coming from foreign countries," Muraleedharan said.
He mentioned that the World Health Organisation declared novel coronavirus a pandemic on March 11. "The requirement of mandatory universal screening of all international passengers arriving in 21 airports in India for COVID-19 was implemented by the government of India with effect from March 4," Muraleedharan said.
"Therefore, during President Trump's visit to India, established norms and protocols for handling such high-level visits were followed," he said. During his India visit, Trump was accompanied by First Lady Melania, daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner and the top brass of his administration.
Asked as to when did the government first receive information from the US about the planned visit of the US President, Muraleedharan said dates for the State visit were decided in mutual consultation by the two sides. Replying to a separate question, Muraleedharan said India provided assistance in the form of medicines and medical equipment to over 150 countries to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The assistance included grants-in-aid valued at around Rs 80 crore to 82 countries.