India to relax quarantine rules for foreign travellers

NEW DELHI (Oct 21): The Indian government has decided to relax the quarantine rules for international passengers arriving from certain countries, Xinhua news agency reported.

India's health ministry on Wednesday issued a new set of guidelines specifying quarantine norms for international travellers from countries that have an agreement with India on mutual recognition of vaccination certificates of nationally recognised or World Health Organisation (WHO)-recognised vaccines.

As per the new norms, which will come into effect from Oct 25, foreigners from the designated countries arriving in India shall be allowed to leave the airport and shall self-monitor their health for 14 days post-arrival.

"Fifteen days must have elapsed since completion of the COVID-19 vaccination schedule," according to the guidelines.

Such passengers will also have to submit a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test report, and the test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey.

India has signed agreements for mutual recognition of nationally or WHO-recognised COVID-19 vaccines with 11 countries namely Britain, France, Germany, Nepal, Belarus, Lebanon, Armenia, Ukraine, Belgium, Hungary and Serbia.

According to the new guidelines, there are countries that 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.

"If any passenger reports symptoms of COVID-19 during flight, he/she shall be isolated as per protocol," the guidelines said.

International travellers arriving through seaports or land ports will also undergo the same protocol.

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