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Covid-19: India allows quarantine-free entry for travellers from 99 countries


NEW DELHI: India on Monday allowed fully vaccinated (with approved jabs) arrivals from 99 countries — including US, UK, UAE, Qatar, France and Germany — to travel quarantine-free in the country. The decision comes as the country allowed foreign tourists on non-charters. India had suspended tourist visas last March and resumed them from October 15 by allowing them in on charters. Apart from a Covid negative report within 72 hours of departure to India, travellers from these 99 countries (called Category A) will also need to upload their fully vaccinated certificate on the Air Suvidha portal. “There are countries which have an agreement with India on mutual recognition of vaccination certificates of nationally recognised or WHO recognised vaccines. Similarly, there are countries which presently do not have such an agreement with India, but they exempt Indian citizens fully vaccinated with nationally recognised or WHO recognised vaccines. On the basis of reciprocity, the travellers from all such countries which provide quarantine-free entry to Indians are allowed certain relaxations on arrival (Category A Countries),” say guidelines issued by the Union health ministry on November 11. For fully vaccinated from Category A countries, it says: “If a traveller is coming from a country with which India has reciprocal arrangements for mutual acceptance of WHO approved Covid-19 vaccines (Category A): If fully vaccinated: They shall be allowed to leave the airport and shall self-monitor their health for 14 days’ post arrival.” Some countries are currently considered to be “at risk” (from Covid point of view) by India which include-countries in Europe including UK, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Singapore. “Travellers from Countries excluding those countries at risk, will be allowed to leave the airport and shall self-monitor their health for 14 days’ post-arrival. This is applicable to travellers from all countries including countries with which reciprocal arrangements for mutual acceptance of WHO approved Covid-19 vaccines also exist,” it adds. Fully vaccinated travellers from countries considered at risk but in Category A of the health ministry, like the UK, Singapore and Zimbabwe, will be allowed to leave the airport and shall self-monitor their health for 14 days’ post arrival. “The global trajectory of Covid-19 pandemic continues to decline with certain regional variations. The need to monitor the continuously changing nature of virus and evolution of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) must still remain in focus. The existing guidelines (issued on 17th February 2021 with subsequent addendums) for international arrivals in India have been formulated taking a risk-based approach. In view increasing vaccination coverage across the globe and the changing nature of the pandemic, the existing guidelines for international arrivals in India have been reviewed,” the health ministry says while giving the rationale for relaxing the international arrival norms.


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