With the Omicron variant putting a spanner in the travel plans of many, here are the rules and regulations you need to keep in mind before you leave home for the airport.
For people planning to travel to India and within India during the Christmas-New Year vacations, it is important to know the curbs put in place by the country and states within the country amid the Omicron scare.
From 1 December, India has separated travellers by whether they come from high-risk or low-risk countries, in determining the rules. Here’s a guide to India’s entry rules if you are planning a trip to India during the Christmas-New Year period.
Departing from at-risk countries
India has classified 12 countries and regions as high-risk – countries in Europe including The United KingdomSouth Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Ghana, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Hong Kong, and Israel.
Travellers who have been in these countries in the last 14 days before arriving in India must follow extra steps after arrival. In addition to a negative RT-PCR taken at most 72 hours before departure and filling in the Air Suvidha health form, passengers will:
- Book an RT-PCR/Rapid PCR test before arrival
- Take a PCR test on arrival at the airport and wait for the results
- If negative, the passenger must self-quarantine for seven days
- On the 8th day, travellers have to take another PCR test to end self-quarantine
- Monitor their health for 14 days after arrival.
While these are the minimum conditions all airports must enforce, each state can add its own rules. For instance, those flying into Mumbai will undergo an institutional quarantine if they have been in South Africa, Botswana, or Zimbabwe in the last 14 days. However, nearly all other ports of entry follow the national guidance.
Departing from all other countries
For passengers not having been in any of the above countries in the last 14 days, the rules remain largely the same. Due to Omicron’s spread, the government has decided that 2% of randomly selected passengers from all international flights will have to take a PCR test on arrival.
All arriving passengers will need to monitor their health for 14 days but are not required to quarantine or take additional tests. This means passengers from busy markets like the US or the Middle East can come to India with minimal restrictions despite the global spread of Omicron.
Travel regulations are ever-changing and may be updated anytime. Real-time Indian government updates can be found on the MoHFW website. Also check rules at your arrival airport.
Australian Government’s travel advice to India can be found on the SmartTraveller page.