The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday, October 20, said that India has signed agreements for mutual recognition of nationally or WHO-recognised COVID-19 vaccines with 11 countries including the UK, France and Germany, and fully vaccinated travellers coming from these countries shall be allowed to leave the airport and need not undergo home quarantine and testing. Revised guidelines for international arrivals were released on Wednesday. These fresh rules supersede all guidelines issued on the subject on and after February 17, 2021, the Ministry said.
The list of countries with which the government has agreement for mutual recognition vaccination certificates for those fully vaccinated with recognised COVID-19 vaccines, and those exempting Indian citizens fully vaccinated, are the UK, France, Germany, Nepal, Belarus, Lebanon, Armenia, Ukraine, Belgium, Hungary and Serbia. If travellers are fully vaccinated and coming from a country with which India has reciprocal arrangements for mutual acceptance of WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines, they shall be allowed to leave the airport and need not undergo home quarantine and testing, according to the revised guidelines. They will, however, need to produce a negative RT-PCR report.
They shall self monitor their health for 14 days post arrival, according to the revised guidelines.
If partially or not vaccinated, the travellers need to undertake measures which include submission of sample for post-arrival COVID-19 test at the point of arrival, after which they will be allowed to leave the airport, home quarantine for seven days, re-test on the eighth day of arrival in India and if negative, further self monitor of their health for next seven days.
The list of countries from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India, including post-arrival testing (countries at-risk) are South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and countries in Europe including the UK.
"The global trajectory of the 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 of 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 Union Health Ministry said.
The new document provides protocols to be complied with international travellers as well those to be followed by airlines, points of entry (airports, seaports and land border) for risk profiling of passengers. This standard operating procedure shall be valid from October 25 till further orders. Based on the risk assessment, this document shall be reviewed from time to time, the Ministry said.