- The guidelines for international passengers will be implemented on August 8
- Guidelines in 4 phases - before travel, boarding, during travel and arrival
- Travellers to be in 7 days institutional quarantine, 7 days home isolation
New Delhi: Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that international travel cannot be halted ‘indefinitely’ in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, as they suggested some public health considerations for international travel. Taking those points into consideration, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Sunday (August 2) issued fresh guidelines for international passengers coming to India amid the pandemic.
The new guidelines are to be implemented August 8 onwards, and is divided into four phases – before travel, before boarding, during travel and arrival.
The guidelines require all passengers to submit a self-declaration form, at least 72 hours before travel, on the online portal (www.newdelhiairport.in).
Furthermore, they must also give an undertaking that they would undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days as prescribed by the government. These 14 days will include 7 days of paid institutional quarantine at their own cost, followed by 7 days isolation at home with self-monitoring of health.
Giving exemptions in some cases, the guidelines mentioned,
Only for compelling reasons/cases of human distress such as pregnancy, death in the family. Serious illness and parent (s) with children of 10 years or below, home quarantine may be permitted for 14 days.
The guidelines further said that the above mentioned cases need to apply to the online portal at least 72 hours before boarding. The final decision taken by the government after considering each case will be communicated on the online portal.
Also, travellers could request for exemption from institutional quarantine by submitting a negative Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test report on arrival. The test should have been conducted within 96 hours prior to undertaking the journey. The test report should be uploaded on the portal for consideration.
The guidelines say that the passengers will be provided ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ along with their tickets by the agencies concerned.
All passengers will also be advised to download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices.
At the time of boarding the flight or ships, passengers will go through thermal screening and only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to proceed.
Those arriving through land borders, will also have to undergo the same protocols, and only those who are asymptomatic will be allowed to cross the border.
Suitable precautionary measures like sanitation and disinfection will be ensured at the airports. Also, during boarding and at the airports, all possible measures to ensure social distancing will be ensured.
Travellers who had not filled in self-declaration form on the portal could fill the same in the flight or ship, and a copy of the same will be given to Health and Immigration officials present at the airport/ seaport/ land port, the guidelines say.
Moreover, suitable announcements about COVID-19, including precautionary measures to be followed, will be made at airports, port and in flights, ships and during the transit.
Whereas, while on board the flight and ships, required precautions such as wearing masks, hand hygiene, among others, are to be kept in check by airline and ship staff, crew and passengers.
The guidelines say that upon arrival, social distancing should be ensured while de-boarding.
All the passengers will go through thermal screening, which will be supervised by the Health officials present at the airports, seaports and land ports. The self-declaration form filled online, will have to be presented to the health staff.
If any passenger is found to be symptomatic during the thermal screening, they will be immediately isolated and taken to medical facility as per health protocols.
Post the thermal screening, the passengers who have been exempted from institutional quarantine, as indicated in advance on the online portal, will show the proof to the Health officers before being allowed the home quarantine for 14 days. Whereas, the remaining passengers will be taken to suitable institutional quarantine facilities, to be arranged by the respective State and Union Territories.
These passengers will be at the institutional quarantine for a minimum period of 7 days, post which they will be tested for coronavirus as per the Indian Council of Medical Research protocol.
If any person tests positive, they will be assessed as per their symptoms. If a patient is assessed as asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic or very mild symptoms, he/she will be allowed home isolation or isolated in the COVID Care Centre, which could be either public or private facility, as decided by the health officials.
Those who are assessed as mild, moderate or severe symptoms will be admitted to dedicated COVID health facilities.
On the other hand, those found negative, will be advised to further isolate themselves at home and self-monitor their health for 7 days. They will be required to inform the district surveillance officer or the state/national call centre at 1075, in case any COVID-19 symptoms develop.
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