- Özgür Töre
After a recent rise in infections in some countries, India is making COVID-19 testing mandatory for passengers arriving from a few countries.
India's federal Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Saturday, December 24, 2022 that passengers with fever or those testing positive would be quarantined.
The minister listed China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Hong Kong as the countries whose passengers will be subjected to tests.
“The way we are seeing the spread of the pandemic in China, after consulting the Aviation Ministry, we are immediately doing the implementation of the Air Suvidha portal and will make the RT-PCR compulsory for the passengers (of five countries),” he told a local news gathering agency.
Air Suvidha forms is a self-declaration form for international passengers.
The latest decision comes as the country is gearing up preparedness amid the COVID-19 rise in neighboring China.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a review meeting urged everyone to "follow Covid appropriate behavior at all times, especially in view of the upcoming festive season, including wearing masks in crowded public places."
The Health Ministry maintained that India has been able to restrict the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and is having 1,200 cases on a weekly basis.
As of Saturday, the country recorded 3,397 active cases, according to the ministry.
In the last several months, the country has also reported a few cases of BF.7 Omicron variant, which has been reported as highly transmissible.
Late on Thursday night, the ministry issued fresh guidelines for international arrivals. Starting from Dec. 24, the ministry said thermal screening "should be done in respect of all the passengers by the health officials present at the point of entry."
It also said 2% of the total arrivals shall undergo random post-arrival testing at airports.