Effective Jan 22, 2022, India removes isolation requirement on International Arrivals into India; 7-days home quarantine still required

Given the emergence of the new variant, India had implemented new arrival rules on December 1, 2021. India had instituted new home quarantine requirements earlier in January 2022. Now, they are making a slight concession. The new rules are effective January 22, 2022, 00:01 Hours IST and here are the details.

India requires on-arrival testing for those arriving from Countries at Risk

India had mandated that all travellers arriving in India, irrespective of their Covid-19 vaccination status, from countries on the at-risk list will now need to undergo post-arrival Covid-19 testing on arrival in India.

For reference, India has the following countries on its list of at-risk countries as of January 7, 2022.

  1. Countries in Europe, including The United Kingdom
  2. South Africa
  3. Brazil
  4. Botswana
  5. China
  6. Mauritius
  7. New Zealand
  8. Zimbabwe
  9. Hong Kong
  10. Israel
  11. Tanzania
  12. Congo
  13. Ethiopia
  14. Ghana
  15. Kazakhstan
  16. Kenya
  17. Nigeria
  18. Tunisia
  19. Zambia

Passengers found positive in these tests on arrival were earlier required be isolated and treated as per the clinical management protocol, besides their samples also taken for Genome Sequencing. The passengers found negative can depart the airport but have to undergo home quarantine for seven days, followed by repeat testing on day 8 of their arrival in India, followed by seven days of self-monitoring. This has now changed. The new circular says, “They shall be treated/isolated as per laid down standard protocol.”

There is a long list of approved tests to prove you are infected or not, and apart from RT-PCR, rapid PCR tests are also going to be accepted. Remember, they are going to be much more expensive, though.

These tests will have to be paid for by the passengers themselves, and they won’t be able to leave the airport or catch a connection till their results don’t come back. Passengers can book and pay for the test before arrival or pay for them via credit cards or Indian currency once they land.

Random Testing for everyone

Further, the Government of India has also decided that 2% of the travellers arriving from countries, not in the at-risk category will also be tested on a random basis at the airport for Covid-19. These 2% passengers will be identified by the airline at random, and they will be sent to the testing area on arrival. In this case, the cost of the test will usually be borne by the airports, at least at many major airports.

From January 11, 2022, onwards, all travellers (including that 2% who were selected for random testing on arrival and were found negative) will undergo home quarantine for seven days and undertake an RT-PCR test on the 8th day of arrival in India. All these travellers shall also be required to upload results of repeat RT-PCR test for COVID-19 done on the 8th day on the Air Suvidha portal (to be monitored by the respective States/UTs). If negative, they will further self-monitor their health for the next seven days. However, if such travellers are tested positive, their samples should be sent for genomic testing at the INSACOG laboratory network. They shall be managed at an isolation facility.

Unfortunately, the Day 8 requirement will mean home quarantine remains for 9-10 days now. At least in major Indian cities, the testing and result timelines have become 48 hours all over again from anecdotal evidence.

Transit Passengers

Post-arrival testing can be exempted if a person travels from a ‘not at risk’ country and has a transit (without leaving immigration) in an at-risk country before taking the destination flight. However, if the person has travelled to any at-risk country in the last 14 days, they will be asked for post-arrival testing and other additional restrictions.

Bottomline

Those arriving from Europe, South African nations, Hong Kong, Israel and all the other at-risk countries will be subject to an on-arrival test in India. They won’t be able to leave the airport where they arrive until their test results come back negative. If they are discovered to be positive, they will be no longer moved to an isolation facility if not required. In case they are negative, they will need to make a Day 8 test while quarantining at home. Even passengers not covered by this statute might be randomly tested on arrival in India (2% per flight). Everyone will be required to quarantine for seven days and, after reporting back with a negative test on Day 8, will be able to go into public circulation.

What do you make of this new requirement for arriving in India?


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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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Comments

  1. International passengers who test positive on arrival at Delhi Airport are still being forced to undergo mandatory institutional isolation. I thought the rules had changed and they could isolate at home.

  2. How is they enforce home quarantine rules? Is the government sending people to your house to check? This seems very excessive for people who have been vaccinated 3 times and gotten 2 negative results before and after the flight.

  3. Ajay,

    Do you know how the 7 day quarantining is enforced for people traveling from the non risk countries? Can their friends and family visit them while quarantining at a hotel? (I am thinking OK because its not isolation?)

  4. No other country is reporting omicron separately. They give total numbers only. Quarantine is now being stopped by many countries and applicable for only positive people.

  5. The “at-risk” countries list is a joke. How can USA not be on that list with the level of daily reported cases in the US?

  6. The article states Singapore as an example of an art risk country in the ‘Bottomline’ section. Please remove that as SG isn’t classified as at/risk now (as stated in your article earlier).

  7. AFAIK Singapore is no longer on the at-risk list.
    So what happens if our visit to India is only 9 or 10 days … will we be “violating” some rule or other?

  8. Effective January 22, vaccinated people traveling to Switzerland don’t have to make a RT-PCR or antigen test any more. Welcome to Indian tourists in Switzerland ! Strange that India don’t care about vaccination status and trust only the RT-PCR : in the USA they stop using RT-PCR tests since these tests are not able to make the difference between a flu and the Covidic black plague.

    • @Gaspard, pretty soon, Don’t expect many Indian tourists to come to Switzerland, now that the validity of Vaccine passes will be made 270 days from the last shot across the Schengen zone.

      • Correct, except if you were vaccinated a short time ago (anyway you can always get a new genic injection). The western regimes are obliged to sell their vaccines. But what do you think about the Indian one (!!) month tourist visa ? With a one week home quarantine for people who tested negative (!!!), there isn’t much time left to visit India.

      • It’s controversial. Anyway it’s true that they withdraw the RT-PCR and that the number of flu cases decreased strangely since they used this test.
        But can you explain why India do not trust the vaccine for incoming persons ?

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