14-day quarantine must for international arrivals

New Delhi: The Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare has come up with guidelines for international arrivals into India through air, sea and land routes, whereby it has said that every person entering India will have to undergo a mandatory quarantine of 14 days.

Paid institutional quarantine

The quarantine period would include seven days of paid institutional quarantine at their own expense, followed by seven days of isolation at home with self-monitoring of health.

All travellers will have to give an undertaking for the 14-day quarantine before boarding a ship or a flight.

The ministry, however said that only for exceptional and compelling reasons such as cases of human distress, pregnancy, death in family, serious illness and parents accompanied by children below 10 years, as per assessment by the receiving states, home quarantine may be permitted for 14 days. In such an exceptional case, the use of the Aarogya Setu app will be mandatory.

Aarogya Setu App

Further, all inbound passengers shall be advised to download Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices, and at the time of boarding the flight or ship, only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board after thermal screening.

Passengers arriving through the land borders will also have to undergo the same protocol and only those who are asymptomatic will be allowed to cross the border into India.

A self-declaration form in duplicate shall be filled by the person in the flight or ship and a copy of the same will be given to health and immigration officials present at the airport, seaport, landport. The form may also be made available on Aarogya Setu app, the guidelines said.

Precautionary measures

Apart from the sanitization and disinfection of airports and flights along with maintenance of social distancing norms, the ministry has also suggested wearing masks, environmental hygiene, respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene among others for airline and ship crew and all passengers.

On arrival, thermal screening would be carried out in respect of all the passengers by the health officials present at the airport, seaport and Iandport.

The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to a medical facility as per health protocol and remaining passengers shall be taken to suitable institutional quarantine facilities, to be arranged by the respective state and union territory governments.

In case of someone found to be coronavirus positive, they shall be assessed clinically, the guidelines said. If they are assessed as mild cases, they will be allowed home isolation or isolated in the Covid Care Centre, either public and private facilities, as appropriate.

“Those having moderate or severe symptoms will be admitted to dedicated COVID Health facilities and managed accordingly,” it said.

International travel

The guidelines come as India is likely to open up inbound international travel in the next couple of months. All international travel has been suspended for over two months now as India went into a lockdown in March amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Domestic travel resumes on Monday, although with limited operations. Further, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday said that international flight operations from India might commence from July depending upon the circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 outbreak.

During an online question and answer session, the minister said: “If the situation eases and improves, by that I mean if the virus behaves in a predictable manner, we get used to the idea of being able to coexist with the virus and we are in a position to make arrangements.”

Vande Bharat Mission

“So far, the ‘Vande Bharat’ mission has moved very well and I am confident that when domestic flights start, they will also proceed very well… So why not start (international flights) by June middle or June end or July,” he added.

Centre’s ‘Vande Bharat’ mission to bring back stranded Indians from foreign land through aircraft and ships, however, is underway and more people will be brought back home under the initiative.

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