Dubai: With the Omicron variant causing countries around the world to update their travel guidelines, you may be wondering how the latest COVID-19 development may affect your travel plans.
If you’re planning on traveling to or from India during the winter break, here’s everything you need to know about the steps you need to take.
While India has extended the ban on scheduled international flights until the end of January 2022, passengers from the UAE can still travel to India as the UAE and India have signed an air transport agreement.
India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) has also issued guidelines for international passengers arriving in the country on November 30, following concerns over the latest variant of COVID-19.
“Existing guidance has been revised for reporting a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.1.529; named Omicron) which has now been classified as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization ( WHO)”, the guidelines read.
These guidelines came into effect on December 1, 2021 and include special quarantine and genomic testing requirements for passengers arriving in India from certain countries.
Which countries are on the red list?
List of countries from which travelers should follow additional measures upon arrival in India, including post-arrival testing
(List updated November 30, 2021)
- European countries including the UK
- South Africa
- New Zealand
- hong kong
Flying from United Arab Emirates to India
Based on the guidelines, here are the steps you need to follow:
1. Take a PCR test 72 hours before your flight departure time. You will need to submit the negative result of this test by completing the Air Subidha form.
2. Submit the self-declaration form on the online site Air Suvidha portal – https://www.newdelhiairport.in/airsuvidha/apho-registration – prior to scheduled travel including travel details for the last 14 days.
3. PCR test on arrival, a random sample of two percent of travelers will be asked to take a PCR test. If they are positive, the sample will be sent for genomic testing and treatment will be followed according to the established protocol. If the test result is negative, they will be asked to monitor their health for 14 days.
Important Note: Depending on individual state requirements, you may also be required to pay for on-arrival testing. This information will be provided by the individual airport authorities.
4. If you are traveling from one of the countries listed as at risk, you will need to follow the following protocol:
- Submission of a sample for the COVID-19 test after arrival at the point of arrival (self-paid). These travelers will need to wait for their test results at the airport of arrival before departing or catching a connecting flight.
- If they test negative, they will undergo a home quarantine for seven days. A new test will be carried out on day 8 of arrival in India and if negative, further self-monitoring of their health is required for the next seven days.
- However, if these travelers test positive, their samples should be sent for genomic testing at one of the laboratories in the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network of laboratories.
- They should be managed in a separate isolation facility and treated according to established standard protocol, including contact tracing.
- Contacts of such a positive case should be kept in institutional or home quarantine strictly monitored by the relevant state government in accordance with established protocol.
Children exempted from the PCR test
The guidelines also provide exemptions from PCR testing requirements for children:
Children under five are exempt from pre- and post-arrival testing. However, if found symptomatic of COVID-19 upon arrival or during the home quarantine period, they should be tested and treated according to established protocol.
Traveling from India to United Arab Emirates
If you are traveling from India to the United Arab Emirates, here are the steps to follow:
1. GDRFA or ICA Entry Permit/Approval – An approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRA) or the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICA) is not required for tourists traveling to WATER.
If you are a UAE resident, you will need to apply for GDRFA or ICA approval.
2. PCR test within 48 hours – A valid negative COVID 19 PCR test certificate with a QR code for a test performed within 48 hours, validity should be calculated from the time the sample was collected, prior to departure from an approved healthcare facility .
3. A rapid PCR test report with a QR code for a test carried out at the departure airport within six hours of departure.