Beginning February 13, passengers entering India from or via China and Hong Kong and four other Asian countries will no longer be required to submit a pre-departure COVID-19 result and self-declaration form on Air Suvidha portal.
From 11:00 am on Monday, the new rule will come into place, as per media reports. Thailand, Singapore, South Korea and Japan are the other countries which have been exempted from this procedure. However, the two per cent random testing will remain in place for all international passengers.
Air Suvidha no longer a mandate for incoming travellers to India
According to The Times of India, the Union health ministry decided to revise the rules for those coming to India from or via these places after they reported a “sustained and significant decline in trajectory of COVID-19 cases”.
This move will come as a big relief to stakeholders in the aviation and tourism industry, as a significant amount of travel happens between India and these countries, especially Thailand, for which Indians form a significant chunk of inbound tourists ever since COVID-19-related norms were lifted.
India started to relax all its testing norms back in 2022 when the number of COVID-19 cases started going down. However, in December last year, the government reintroduced random testing of two per cent of all international passengers because certain parts of the world were seeing a rise in the number of virus cases. Later, India again updated its norms and made submissions of pre-departure COVID-19 result and self-declaration form mandatory for passengers arriving from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand after noticing an increase in COVID-19 cases in these places. Now, with this latest rule revoked, travellers will be slightly more at ease as they arrive at the airports in India for travel, be it business, medical or leisure.
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