Air suvidha goes: International arrival rules relaxed as Covid situation improves | India News

NEW DELHI: People flying into India from abroad will no longer need to fill out the air suvidha form from Tuesday (November 21-22 midnight IST). The government on Monday revised the guidelines for international arrivals — in a major relief to air travellers — due to the vast improvement in pandemic situation and increased vaccination. Also, it is no longer mandatory for international arrivals to be vaccinated — though it remains preferable.
The relaxation comes days after India had made it optional — though, again preferable, — for air travellers to remain masked on aircraft and at airports.

Anyone flying into India from abroad during the pandemic was required to fill this pre-departure form that required giving, among other things, passenger’s vaccination details and submit it online.

While checking in for a flight to India, airlines used to check the vaccination certificate and the mailed back Air Suvidha to the passenger. Only then was boarding allowed. In recent months there was increasing demand to do away with this requirement as passengers would often forget to fill the same or last-minute flight change made the earlier submitted form incorrect unless they submitted the form again with the details of the altered flights taking him/her to India.
The revised guidelines for international arrivals issued by the Union health ministry issued Monday say: “Planning for Travel: All travellers should preferably be fully vaccinated as per approved primary schedule against Covid-19 in their Country.”
For “during travel”, it says: “In-flight announcement about the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic including precautionary measures to be followed (preferable use of masks and following physical distancing) shall be made in flights/travel and at all points of entry. Any passenger having symptoms of Covid-19 during travel shall be isolated as per standard protocol. (Such) passengers should be wearing mask, isolated and segregated from other passengers in flight/travel and shifted to an isolation facility subsequently for follow up treatment.”
And the rules applicable on arrival in India from Tuesday say: “De-boarding should be done ensuring physical distancing. Thermal screening should be done in respect of all the passengers by the health officials present at the point of entry. Passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated, taken to a designated medical facility as per health protocol.”
All travellers will need self-monitor their health post arrival also shall report to their nearest health facility or call National helpline number (1075) / state helpline number in case they have any symptoms suggestive.
The guidelines have been “revised in light of sustained declining Covid-19 trajectory and significant advances being made in Covid-19 vaccination coverage both globally as well as in India.”
Last Wednesday India had made wearing masks optional for passengers flying domestic and international flights for the same reason. While using face masks remains ‘preferable’, air travellers will no longer be penalised for not wearing face masks.
The Union aviation ministry had last Wednesday issued an order saying that from now on in-flight announcements made by airlines “may only mention that in view of the threat posed by Covid-19, all passengers should preferably use mask/face covers. Any specific reference to fine/penal action need not be announced as part of the in-flight announcements.”
India has been lifting Covid time restrictions like those on domestic airfare range; inflight meal and beverage serving/selling; number of domestic flights allowed; restriction on scheduled international flights and testing and quarantine requirements as the pandemic situation improved over the past few quarters.

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