The pandemic has terrifically and dramatically changed the scenario of the world. With soaring health awareness among people, a new paradigm has been designed to inculcate in our daily lives, which include, quarantine, isolation and social distancing. India is among the top-hit countries by the novel Coronavirus.

As of the second week of April, with a whopping number of over 1.35 crore cases and 170k deaths, the country is wobbling on the edge of an unruly outbreak in its tussle with the fatal disease. To come out of this challenging time, many countries and their ministries are looking forward to encouraging travel within and across the country.

The recommended quarantine duration is of 14 days which initiates from the time of possible exposure to the virus. Keeping the current situation in mind, the Ministry of Home Affairs in India has made it mandatory for all the passengers travelling via international flights to undergo home quarantine for 14 days or as warranted. All the expenses of the quarantine have to be borne by the passengers.

Undertaking of this obligation is required to be signed and submitted before the confirmation of the booking. Passengers coming from Europe, UK and Middle Eastern countries will be required to take the molecular test on their arrival, the cost for the same has to be borne by the passenger. Apart from this, passengers coming from the UK, Brazil and South Africa will be asked to leave only if they test negative for the RT-PCR test.

There is an RT-PCR testing facility at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Passengers can avail this facility located at Entry Gate no. 8 in the Departure Forecourt area. One can make payments through cash in Indian currency or via debit/credit cards. Parents are also required to upload negative RT-PCR reports of their infants and children on the airline’s portal.

Exemption from Quarantine 

Exemption from mandatory quarantine can be granted to international passengers only if their reasons are enthralling enough. If one wishes to apply for the exemption, he/she can visit the official website of the particular airport. Exemption can be claimed in case of death of a family member but the passenger is required to submit an application at least 72 hours before boarding. Passengers who are flying with exemptions must have installed the Aarogya Setu app on their smartphones.

The exemption can be given in some more cases only after the submission of relevant documents, I am listing down such cases:

  • Women in advanced stages of pregnancy
  • Passengers above the age of 65
  • Passengers that require medical attention for serious ailments like physical disability, cerebral palsy, cancer, etc.
  • Extreme case of family distress i.e., son/daughter/father/mother in critical condition, severe accident, death, etc.
  • Vaccinated passengers who have administered both the doses
  • Medical professionals travelling to attend critical patients
  • The government of Andhra Pradesh has mandated the enrollment of all the arriving foreigners on its online portal

Meanwhile Some Other Regulations

  • Passengers wishing to travel to their home states via connecting flights are allowed to do so only if they take all the precautions, including quarantine
  • All the passengers are required to undergo thermal screening
  • Passengers arriving in India, to other states through transit in Mumbai, Delhi, Cochin, or Hyderabad, can now be exempted from institutional quarantine even if they are not carrying the negative RT-PCR report. This is due to airport testing of all the international passengers, held at the airports of these cities. If the test comes out negative, passengers may go ahead otherwise they are required to self isolate themselves for a required period of time
  • Apart from the above mentioned rules laid down by the government for international passengers, clauses vary from states to states depending on the protocols set by the government
  • In states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal and Tamilnadu all passengers including adults, children and infants are supposed to carry a digital/physical copy of the acknowledgement of their self-health declaration form accompanied with their RT-PCR report. Failing this may result in denial of boarding at the station
  • Passengers travelling to Mumbai from the UK, Europe and Middle East have to undergo compulsory institutional quarantine for a fortnight at their own cost. The RT-PCR test is conducted on either 5th or 7 day of quarantine, in case of a negative report, the passenger can spend the remaining quarantine period at home

Night Curfew

As the virus is spreading at a faster rate in the second wave, the government of many states have come up with lockdown-like measures at night i.e., night curfew. In this measure, several restrictions have been imposed at night in order to curb the spread of Covid-19. Concurrently talking about the night curfew, passengers have to register online for an e-pass before entering into any city. According to the new laws, no restrictions will be imposed on traffic movement during night curfew. Exemption can be granted to shopkeepers (selling essentials), people willing to get Covid-19 vaccination, print and electronic media. In order to get exemption, all such people will have to get an e-pass.

(By Alok K Singh, Co-founder and CEO, Travomint)