Air Suvidha form scrapped! Centre's new rules for international passengers
The central government has relaxed the requirement to fill out the Air Suvidha form for individuals arriving in India from foreign nations on the back of the constantly falling COVID-19 cases in the country. As per the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), these newly revised guidelines for international passengers flying to India came into effect on Tuesday (November 22).
Why does this story matter?
- Filling out the form on the Civil Aviation Ministry's Air Suvidha portal was compulsory for all international passengers arriving in India until Monday.
- Passengers were required to submit details of their COVID-19 vaccination status, including the number of doses received and the dates, in the form.
- These guidelines were in line with the regulations in most countries since the pandemic struck the world.
International passengers should preferably be fully vaccinated
The Civil Aviation Ministry's official notification said, "In the light of sustained declining COVID-19 trajectory and significant advances being made in COVID-19 vaccination coverage both globally as well as in India, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has issued revised 'Guidelines for International Arrivals." The MoHFW's latest rules say air travelers should preferably be vaccinated fully per their nation's approved primary COVID-19 vaccination schedule.
Masks no longer mandatory for flyers: Government
Last week, the Civil Aviation Ministry stated that masks are no longer mandatory while traveling on domestic and international flights. "The in-flight announcements henceforth may only mention that in view of the threat posed by COVID-19, all passengers should preferably use mask/face covers," the government communication said to airlines. However, the order said that travelers were still advised to use masks.
Thermal screening of international passengers at all entry points
On Monday, the MOHFW stated upon their arrival, the thermal screening of all international passengers in India would be conducted by the health officials present at the entry points. Furthermore, it said international travelers should self-monitor their health and report to the nearest health facility or call the national COVID-19 helpline number (1075) or respective state helpline numbers if they have any suggestive symptoms.
Passengers to be made aware of current COVID-19 situation
The Centre said that announcements regarding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic situation—including preventive guidelines to be obeyed, such as following social distancing protocols and preferable use of masks—should be made on flights and at all entry points. The MoHFW, in its latest release, also said that passengers experiencing COVID-19 symptoms during travel should be isolated per standard protocol.
India's current COVID-19 tally
The Centre's new guidelines for international passengers came into effect on a day when India reported 294 new coronavirus cases, taking the country's total tally to 4,46,69,715 on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the death count rose to 5,30,591 as five deaths were reconciled by Kerala. As per the Union Health Ministry's data on Tuesday, active cases dropped to 6,209.