New Delhi: India has lifted the mandatory COVID-19 test for travellers arriving from or via six countries- China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand and Japan, as well as doing away with the mandate to upload the ‘Air Suvidha‘ form for such travellers since infections related to the virus have fallen globally.
However, random COVID-19 testing of 2 per cent of all travellers landing in India will continue, the health ministry has said. The random tests stopped in November but were kickstarted again on December 24 due to the escalating COVID situation in China and neighbouring countries.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, in a letter to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, said his ministry was updating its ‘Guidelines for International Arrivals’ in view of a decline in COVID-19 cases. The letter said the current mandate of pre-departure COVID-19 testing – taken not more than 72 hours before the journey – and self-health declaration on ‘Air Suvidha’ for international arrivals from six countries was being changed in lieu of the downward spiral of Covid-19 cases.
“This ministry is updating its ‘Guidelines for International Arrivals’, and dropping the existing requirements of pre-departure COVID-19 testing and uploading of the Self-Health Declaration on the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s ‘Air Suvidha’ portal applicable for international travellers coming from/via China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Thailand and Japan.”
“In order to monitor infections due to mutated variants of SARS-CoV-2 among international travellers to India, the present exercise of random testing of two per cent travellers irrespective of their country of origin upon arrival in India shall continue.”
India registered 124 new COVID-19 cases, while the active infection numbers have increased to 1,843 on Sunday.
The Ministry of Health, as a part of its proactive yet graded public health response to COVID-19 management, has been updating ‘Guidelines for International Arrivals’ from time to time. According to the World Health Organization’s data, the last 28 days saw a dip of 89 per cent in new infections compared to the numbers registered in the previous 28 days.
Chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Wu Zunyou, recently stated that there is very less chances of China having to battle a fresh wave of COVID-19 on a large scale in the near future.