As the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic started to ebb, India had raised its guard and did not want a new “variant” to sneak into the country.
In February 2021, India had mandated that everyone who arrives in the country now upload an RT-PCR negative report taken within 72 hours of the start of their trip to India on the Air Suvidha portal. Then, as the new Delta variant started to spread, India had mandated a second, compulsory test on arrival for those arriving from continental Europe, the United Kingdom and the Middle-Eastern countries (and Brazil and South Africa later).
Now, India has added more countries to the list.
As per the Government of India, apart from those arriving from Continental Europe, United Kingdom and the Middle-Eastern countries, now, arrivals from the following countries will also be tested a second time on arrival in India (at their cost):
- South Africa
- New Zealand
It beats me that Europe and the Middle East are on the list, but the USA is not on the list for now. Even with people from India banned from travelling to the USA, travel from the USA to India is not controlled, and the USA has seen a surge in cases at the moment.
Hence, if anyone arrives in India on September 3, 2021, and onwards from these nations, they need to take a second test before going home.
Mumbai and Bangalore, two of the major gateway airports in India, have already notified their rules on the back of this new government notification.
Mumbai has notified that anyone arriving/transiting from the above-noted countries will not be exempted, even if fully vaccinated, and will have to undergo an RT-PCR test on arrival. Fortunately, the costs of the RT-PCR test have been kept very low (INR 600), but expect a crowd. You will be allowed to leave after your sample is collected.
Similarly, Bengaluru Airport, which had just pulled back on their exemptions for RT-PCR, has now imposed them again for people arriving from these countries. In this case, if you come from South Africa or Brazil, you need to stay at the airport till your test result is not shared. Everyone else can get on a plane or go after giving a sample.
If you are arriving in India as of September 3, 2021, from countries where new mutations might be feared, you will need to provide a second RT-PCR test on arrival back into the country as well till further notice. So plan for it when you plan your international trips here on.
What do you make of the new rules of international arrivals in India?
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