India lifts negative RT-PCR mandate for passengers from China, others
In light of the global decline in COVID-19 cases, India lifted COVID-19 restrictions on travelers from six countries, including China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand, and Japan, on Monday. As per the new rules, pre-boarding RT-PCR testing will no longer be required for people arriving from these countries. The revised guidelines went into effect on Monday morning.
Why does this story matter?
- The Indian government's decision comes amid a drop in COVID-19 cases globally, per the World Health Organization (WHO).
- According to Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, in the last four weeks, COVID-19 cases in these six countries have steadily declined.
- In December, the government imposed several restrictions on travelers and also directed the states to put COVID-19 curbs in place to contain any unforeseen outbreak.
Random testing of 2% travelers to continue from all countries
According to PTI, Union Health Secretary Bhushan wrote to the Civil Aviation Ministry, informing it that the pre-departure COVID-19 testing mandate and self-health declaration on the "Air Suvidha" form for international arrivals from these six countries were being revised. However, random COVID-19 testing of 2% of all travelers arriving in India will continue, regardless of the country of origin, it said.
WHO claims 89% decline in new COVID-19 cases
Globally, new infections decreased by 89% in the last 28 days compared to the preceding 28 days, per the WHO. The China Center for Disease Control and Prevention also stated a new COVID-19 wave is unlikely in the country. George Gao, a leading Chinese scientist, told Reuters the Omicron subvariants causing infections in China were the same as those found worldwide: BA.5.2 and BF.7.
Coronavirus scenario in India
India has also reported a decrease in COVID-19 cases, according to Hindustan Times. On Sunday, 124 new coronavirus cases were reported, bringing the total number of active cases to 1,843. To recall, India boosted its readiness to combat the possibility of a new surge in cases in December following reports of rising infections in various countries as China reversed its strict zero COVID-19 policy.
No new variants since zero COVID-19 policy lifted: Lancet study
Last week, a study published in The Lancet claimed that China reported no new COVID-19 variants during the recent spike in cases since the country relaxed its strict zero COVID-19 policy. It stated that genome analysis of 413 new COVID-19 infections in Beijing between the times when China relaxed its most stringent pandemic control policies indicated that they were all caused by existing strains.