The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Sunday released a set of guidelines for people coming to India from foreign countries during the lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus. The Centre, however, has not yet announced when international flights will resume.
The guidelines mandate a compulsory 14-day quarantine for international travellers – seven days each at an institution and at home. The travellers will have to pay for institutional quarantine. The government may allow exemptions from institutional quarantine in case of an emergency. “Only for exceptional and compelling reasons such as cases of human distress, pregnancy, death in family, serious illness and parent(s) accompanied by children below 10 years, as assessed by the receiving states, home quarantine may be permitted for 14 days,” the health ministry said.
The health ministry added that all passengers will be screened at the time of boarding and only the asymptomatic ones will be allowed to travel. The passengers will be screened again upon their arrival in India. “The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to medical facility,” the health ministry said. “The remaining passengers shall be taken to suitable institutional quarantine facilities, to be arranged by the respective State/ Union Territory Governments.”
The passengers are also required to compulsorily download the Aarogya Setu app. The health ministry added that state governments can formulate their own protocol for international arrivals.
Here is the full list of guidelines issued by the health ministry:
1. Before boarding, all travellers shall give an undertaking that they would undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days - 7 days paid institutional quarantine at their own cost, followed by 7 days isolation at home with self-monitoring of health.
2. Only for exceptional and compelling reasons such as cases of human distress, pregnancy, death in family, serious illness and parent(s) accompanied by children below 10 years, as assessed by the receiving states, home quarantine may be permitted for 14 days. Use of Aarogya Setu app shall be mandatory in such cases.
3. Dos and Don’ts shall be provided along with ticket to the travelers by the agencies concerned.
4. All passengers shall be advised to download Arogya Setu app on their mobile devices.
5. At the time of boarding the flight/ ship, only asymptomatic travelers will be allowed to board after thermal screening.
6. Passengers arriving through the land borders will also have to undergo the same protocol as above, and only those who are asymptomatic will be enabled to cross the border into India.
7. Self-declaration form in duplicate shall be filled by the person in the flight/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.
8. Suitable precautionary measures such as environmental sanitation and disinfection shall be ensured at the airports as well as within the flights.
9. During boarding and at the airports, all possible measures to ensure social distancing to be ensured.
10. Suitable announcement about COVID-19 including precautionary measures to be followed shall be made at airports/port and in flights/ships and during transit.
11. While on board the flight/ ship, required precautions such as wearing of masks, environmental hygiene, respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene etc. are to be observed by airline/ ship staff, crew and all passengers.
12. On arrival, thermal screening would be carried out in respect of all the passengers by the Health officials present at the airport/ seaport/ Iandport.
13. The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to medical facility as per health protocol.
14. The remaining passengers shall be taken to suitable institutional quarantine facilities, to be arranged by the respective State/ UT Governments.
15. These passengers shall be kept under institutional quarantine for a minimum period of 7 days. They shall be tested as per ICMR protocol.
The government had suspended both international and domestic flights in March. On Wednesday, the Centre announced its decision to resume domestic flights in a calibrated manner from May 25. Amid the rising number of coronavirus cases, several states have opposed the Centre’s decision.
India on Sunday recorded 6,767 new coronavirus cases – the biggest single-day jump in figures so far. With this, the total number of cases reached 1,31,868 and the toll rose to 3,867 after 147 new fatalities.