India's pre-departure Covid RT-PCR test rule will now also apply to passengers transiting from five countries - China, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand and Japan - the Ministry of Health said on Monday.
Earlier, New Delhi had made the test mandatory for passengers coming from these Covid-hit countries. However, now even if a passenger is coming from any other country and transiting through these five nations will have to show a negative Covid report before boarding flights for India.
The Ministry of Health said mandatory pre-departure RT-PCR testing (to be conducted within 72 hrs prior to undertaking the journey) has been introduced for passengers on all international flights from these five countries.
"This will also apply to transiting passengers through the countries irrespective of their originating countries before coming to any Indian airports," the Health Ministry said in a letter addressed to the secretary at the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Accordingly, the Air Suvidha portal has to be made operational for passengers on all international flights from these countries, with a provision to allow international travellers arriving in India to submit negative RT-PCR test reports as well as to submit a self-declaration form on this portal.
The existing practise of post-arrival random testing of 2 per cent travellers will continue, the ministry said.
Last month, following a sharp spike in Covid cases in some countries including China, India issued revised travel guidelines for air passengers and introduced random testing at airports to detect any possible new variant which may be driving the case.
While nearly 50 international passengers tested positive Covid in the first three days, India has not seen any sharp spike in its daily numbers.
The country reported 173 new cases in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Monday.
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