Everything you need to know when travelling between India and Europe after new strain of COVID-19 prompts lockdowns

Asia's Tech News Daily

#coronavirus, #Covid-19, #Europe, #lockdown, #Omicron, #RT-PCR test, #Schengen Area, #UK

All passengers planning to travel to India post-December 1 must submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal before scheduled travel, including details of travel in the last 14 days.

As India prepares to resume commercial flights on December 15, a new strain of the COVID-19 virus called Omicron has once again instilled fear in countries across the world.

On November 26, the Indian government said the country will resume regular international flights to all countries where the pandemic is under control.

The government has also decided not to resume commercial flights to 14 countries including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, the United Kingdom, Singapore, China, Mauritius, South Africa, Brazil, and New Zealand on grounds that the pandemic has not been completely contained there.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on November 28 issued new guidelines for international travelers arriving in India, effective December 1.

The government has issued a list of 12 countries from where travelers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India including post-arrival testing and a quarantine for a period of seven days if they test negative.

They include countries in Europe including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.

Here is a look at all the travel restrictions in force when traveling between India and Europe:

1. When traveling from India to European countries:

While countries across Europe halted air travel from southern Africa amid growing concern about the new COVID-19 variant, travel from other parts of the world still continues to Europe.

Some European countries incluing the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Israel, and Austria have already imposed partial lockdowns because of a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Norms when traveling in European countries are broadly categorized under three groups–safe countries, high-risk areas and very high-risk areas. India is categorized under the high-risk area by countries in the Schengen Area and the UK.

The Schengen Area is an area comprising 26 European countries that have officially abolished all passports and all other types of border controls at their mutual borders. While the UK is not a part of the Schengen Area, the norms enforced when travelling to the country are in line with those followed in the area.

Fully vaccinated travelers from India are allowed to enter the country with a copy of a COVID test done 48 hours prior to arriving in a Schengen country.

Travellers will also need a health declaration and a history of countries traveled to in the last 14 days. Upon arriving in any of the countries in the Schengen Area, travelers will have to apply for a “coronavirus entry pass” to travel around the country. Travelers should also fill in a passenger locator form.

Partially vaccinated travelers from India are allowed to enter the country for the purposes of joining a university, working, and visiting a terminally ill family member or for a funeral. Travelers should also fill in a passenger locator form.

Partially vaccinated travelers will need a copy of a COVID-19 test done 48 hours prior to arriving in a Schengen country and will have to quarantine for five days before taking another COVID-19 test.

Travelers will then have to apply for a “coronavirus entry pass” to travel around.

2. Passenger with layovers in Europe before travelling to India:

Travelers who are in a Schengen country as part of a transit/transfer must carry proof that they have a connecting flight to a country outside the Schengen area.

Travelers must not leave any of the airport’s international transit zones in this period.

Travelers will also need a copy of a COVID-19 test done 48 hours prior to arriving in a Schengen country.

3. When traveling from European countries to India:

Currently, the Indian government has only imposed restrictions for travelers arriving from the United Kingdom after December 1.

However, the government is also monitoring the status of the outbreak of a new wave of COVID-19 in Belgium, Israel, Germany, the Netherlands, and Austria, government officials told Moneycontrol.

When traveling from the UK:

Travelers arriving from the UK will have to undergo an RT-PCR test on arrival in India and will be required to wait for the results before leaving the airport or taking a connecting flight.

The travellers will also have to wait for their test results at the arrival airport before leaving or taking a flight.

If the test is found negative, they will have to to quarantine for 7 days. On the 8th day, a second test will be conducted and passenger will have to self-monitor for 7 days if they test negative.

Passengers testing positive shall be managed at a separate isolation facility and their samples should be sent to INSACOG, added the guidelines. INSACOG is a forum set up under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to study and monitor genome sequencing and virus variation of circulating strains of COVID-19 in India

Contacts of patients who test positive will be kept under institutional or home quarantine.

All passengers planning to travel to India post-December 1 must submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal before scheduled travel, including details of travel in the last 14 days.

They will also have to upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report on the portal, which should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey.

Travellers will also have to submit a declaration with respect to the authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution.

When traveling from other countries in Europe:

Travelers arriving in India from other European countries will have to upload a history of their travel in the past 14 days on the online Air Suvidha portal before scheduled travel

If travellers have not been to any of the countries under India’s ‘at risk’ category they will be allowed to leave the airport and shall self-monitor their health for 14 days post-arrival.

If travellers have been to any of the countries that fall under India’s ‘at risk’ category they will need to have a negative RT-PCR test result 72 hours before departure to India and need to fill in the Air Suvidha online declaration form.

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