Many countries including US, UK, Kuwait, France and Canada have banned flights from India, citing COVID-19 cases and the "double mutant" virus being found in the country. Iran, Kuwait, Indonesia and UAE are the latest additions to this list of countries that have banned India from their citizens' travel lists. From mandatory RT-PCR tests to compulsory quarantine, here's a lowdown of restrictions imposed on travellers from India to these countries:
Iran has also decided to bar travellers from India and Pakistan from Sunday midnight.
"The Indian coronavirus is a new threat we face. The Indian virus is more dangerous that the English and Brazilian variants," Iran President Hassan Rouhani said.
Kuwait is the latest addition in the list of countries that have banned flights from India due to the exacerbating coronavirus situation. According to the Kuwaiti directorate general of civil aviation, this ban will be effective from April 24.
The statement by Kuwaiti directorate general of civil aviation on Twitter also noted that all those arriving from India either directly or via another country will be barred from coming back to Kuwait if they have not spent at least 14 days out of India.
Kuwaiti citizens, their first-degree relatives and their domestic workers will, however, be allowed to enter the country. Freight flights will continue to operate.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has banned all flights except cargo flights from India for 10 days from April 24 midnight citing unprecedented COVID-19 rise in the country. These regulations can be extended.
The flights between India and UAE will, however, continue to operate for transportation of passengers. Those exempted from this ban include UAE citizens, diplomatic missions appointed by the countries, official delegations, those on businessmen-chartered flights and those having the golden residency.
Indonesian government has decided to not issue visas to any foreigners who have been in India in the past 14 days to prevent COVID-19 transmission. Indonesians entering from India will be allowed to enter the country but will have to follow stricter protocols and quarantine rules.
These curbs come after a chartered plane arrived in Indonesia from Chennai. Twelve out of the 129 passengers onboard had tested positive for COVID-19, according to Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi. The minister added that the samples had been taken for genomic sequencing.
France has barred flights from five countries-India, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa. Travellers entering France from these five countries will have to undergo a mandatory antigen test on their arrival apart from a pre-boarding RT-PCR test.
The US government has issued an advisory to all its citizens to avoid travelling to India amid recent COVID-19 surge in the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in its statement, "Because of the current situation in India, even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to India. If you must travel to India, get fully vaccinated before travel. All travelers should wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, avoid crowds and wash their hands."
The United Kingdom (UK) has added India to its COVID-19 travel "red list". This effectively bars all travel from the country and makes 10-day hotel quarantine for all UK and Irish citizens coming back from India. UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons that they 103 cases of the Indian COVID-19 variant had been identified in the UK, of which "vast majority had links to international travel".
Hong Kong has suspended international flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines from April 20 till May 2. The authorities concerned decided to ban flights from India and Vistara flights on the Mumbai-Hong Kong routes after 50 passengers tested positive for the virus on arrival.
According to the new rules, all passengers arriving in the country will have to produce a COVID-negative RT-PCR report, which should be conducted within 72 hours of arrival.
Since Singapore is on a "heightened alert" against the coronavirus pandemic, it has banned all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors who have travelled to India within the last 14 days from entry or transit via Singapore from April 24.
People who have prior permission to enter the city state will also be impacted by this decision, according to Education Minister and co-chair of the multi-ministerial task force handling the pandemic, Lawrence Wong.
Apart from this, people who recently travelled to India and have not completed the 14-day stay-home notice (SHN) by April 22 midnight will have to complete the additional seven-day SHN at a dedicated facility rather than their homes. This group will have to undergo three PCR tests: when they arrive, on the 14th day of their SHN and before their SHN ends.
Canadian government suspended international flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days on April due to the unabated rise in COVID-19 cases. The Health Minister Patty Hajdu mentioned that half the people who are testing positive after arriving in Canada via flights came from India. Flights from India account for almost 20 per cent of the air traffic of Canada. She added there are also a disproportionate number of positive cases among those travelling on flights from Pakistan. Cargo flights from India and Pakistan will, however, continue.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a reduction in flights from nations like India. Morrison said, "We will also be limiting the departure exceptions for Australians travelling to high-risk countries like India. As time goes on and the pandemic continues to rage, there are countries that are frankly of greater risk than others."
Edited by Mehak Agarwal