Latest airlines travel updates, India amidst Pandemic- India


The world is changing. Many of us know that it won’t be the same ever. The only way to counter this change is to change ourselves too.

We are already digging deep into altered safety rituals, transformed working schedules and most importantly newfangled travel guidelines.

Most of us know that travel is quite risky amidst the new variant onset. But in such drastic times, we also realize the importance of traveling to our family or loved ones, to be safe and stay assured while being together. This raises concerns about travel guidelines, especially through the air.

As your daily digest of airline updates, here are some noteworthy happenings in the entire industry.

A word about ‘Transport bubbles’

Transport bubbles are the special travel arrangements that are formed between two countries. India has established such bubbles intending to restart the commercial services of passengers whenever there is a suspension of flights between two countries.

The best parts of these bubbles are that they benefit both countries as both sides reap the rewards. Currently, India has created bubble arrangements with 34 countries including the nations of the UK, UAE, USA, and Canada.

Ban on international flights

This might appear to be a gloomy update all. With cases rising and the risk being monitored coming from abroad countries, India has extended the ban on international flights.

Earlier, the government has already hinted about how they can resume international flights after December. But such is not the case, thanks to the rise of Omicron Cases in the nation. During that time, it was also expected that the ban could be lifted after 31st January.

But things became worrisome for the authorities once again and they have decided to take precautionary measures, no matter what it takes.

As of now, international travelers can see the sun on foreign oil only after 28th February 2022.

With this news, it seems that the government is not taking any risk whatsoever.

The announcement was made by The Directorate General of Civil Aviation. This includes all international flights to and from India.

However, the good news is that the air bubble system will continue to operate. Also, the cargo flights will be running smoothly. So if you aren’t present there, make sure to send gifts to make your family feel secure.

No isolation mandatory on arrival

For optimistic news readers, we do have some positive news as well. There are changed guidelines now for people coming to the country. The recent updates show that staying in an isolation facility is not mandatory now upon arrival.

If in case, a person is faced with symptoms of Covid, he or she will be screened and taken to medical facilities immediately, to be treated with regular health protocols. The procedure also includes contacting the persons’ known ones as the following step.

Foreign arrivals will have to go home in quarantine for seven days even if they test negative. They also have to take an RT-PCR test after one week of isolation at home.

These new protocols will be followed for international travel from January 22, 2022, onwards.

If traveling from the US to India

All US citizens are advised to travel with exercised increased caution, keeping in mind their safety concerns. The advisory is officially issued by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention authorities as well as the Department of the State facilities.

Under these guidelines, if you are traveling to India from the U.S. you need to be fully vaccinated prior to travel, have to get the flu shots to avoid a major flu outbreak, and lastly, need to maintain and follow measures taken by India to control Covid-19 situations.

The U.S government has issued the latest e-tourist visas that will allow travelers to roam around the country easily. The visas issued before October 2021 will not be valid and you need to have the latest ones issued by the U.S. government after October 6, 2021.

People who are traveling for business purposes and ones looking to move into India as residents have no such visas obligations to face.

When arriving in India, you need to upload your self-declaration certificate along with the RT-PCR negative report on the Air Suvidha portal. This should be done within the time frame of 72 hours of departure.

When arriving in India from the US, you need to take a thermal screening. If any symptom is found, you will be isolated until tested negative. If you want to use the rapid test, the charge fee is Rs. 3500, with a report waiting time as short as 2 hours. For PCR test, Rs. 500 is chargeable and the waiting time for the report is 5 hours.

On the testing negative, you shall be home quarantine for at least 7 days. You need to monitor yourself on the 8th day and if necessary, monitor for a week more. If tested positive, you shall be held in medical isolation facilities.

After arrival, you can use commercial flights within India. If you are roaming in public without a mask, you can face a fine of up to Rs. 2000. You need to follow all the strict compliance imposed in the country by the particular state authorities.

If traveling from UAE to India

If you are traveling from Dubai to India, you have to submit the RT-PCR report before taking off at the airport. The documents you need to provide include a printed copy of the self-declaration form at the state’s airport and a printed copy of the vaccination certificate.

These need to be submitted to the Air Suvidha section of the airport you are arriving at. You also need to download the official AarogyaSetu app on your mobile phone prior to arrival in India.

Except for Mumbai, you need to follow certain protocols upon arrival in India from UAE. You need to take a covid test and wait for the report upon arrival. Children below 5 years of age are not required to take the test.

If you test negative, you need to home quarantine for 7 days and take another test on the 8th day. If you test positive, you will be managed by the healthcare protocols of the particular state, usually including hospital facilities and isolation ward provisions.

If you are arriving in Kerala, molecule tests will be conducted on arrival, free of cost.

If you are coming to Mumbai, the rules are slightly different. On arrival, you need not take an RT-PCR test. If you are a resident of Mumbai, you need to undergo a week of isolation and take the test on the 7th day.

If you test positive, you will be shifted to the quarantine facilities for international travelers. During this phase, the test will be done frequently, on days 2nd, 4th, and 7. These tests will be done at your expense and will not be free of cost.

If traveling from Canada to India

Earlier, it was not required for you to show a test report but you had to undergo 14 days of compulsory isolation upon arrival from Canada. In a recent update, the 72-hour window of the RT-PCR test applies now.

This is compulsory before the departure of every flight. As a pre-boarding procedure, the air transport bubble arrangements are made if traveling to India.

The test report has to be submitted  72 hours before the scheduled travel on the Air Suvidha portal of the country. When you arrive, you can travel using public transport or take domestic flights if you are tested negative.

The main key fact is that now the government has nullified the earlier mandated 14 day quarantine period and instead, you just need to be RT-PCR negative if coming from Canada.

List of at-risk countries

India keeps on updating the list of countries from where it’s risky to travel to India. This is a precautionary measure taken to address people not to travel to and from these countries during these times as it might lead to an increase in cases number. When traveling from these countries, you will have to follow additional measures including certain steps such as post-arrival testing.

The latest and updated ‘countries-at-risk’ list includes

  1. Countries in Europe including The United Kingdom
  2. South Africa
  3. Brazil
  4. Botswana
  5. China
  6. Ghana
  7. Mauritius
  8. New Zealand
  9. Zimbabwe
  10. Tanzania
  11. Hong Kong
  12. Israel
  13. Congo
  14. Ethiopia
  15. Kazakhstan
  16. Kenya
  17. Nigeria
  18. Tunisia
  19. Zambia

The list keeps on updating on regular basis.

It’s a wrap

With changing times, and new variants arriving every year, the precautionary measures are also changing. The government is doing its part by making sure that compliances are followed while common travelers are not troubled to death.

This also helps us realize our duties as the most intelligent being on the planet. By following the updated norms, we can ensure that everything stays in symmetry and the cases do not rise. The wiser thing is to always stay up to date with the latest travel guidelines and follow them before traveling anywhere in the world, not just in India. Keep checking our blog section to read more such news updates related to international travel.

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