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New rules for flyers from 6 countries visiting India kicks in: 10 things to know

From today, India is lifting the mandatory Covid-19 test for travellers arriving from/via China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand and Japan, as infections related to the virus have fallen sharply globally.

The Central government has also dropped the mandate to upload the ‘Air Suvidha’ form for such travellers.

Here are the top 10 points of the story:

1. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, in a letter to his counterpart in the Ministry of Civil Aviation Rajiv Bansal, said his ministry was updating its ‘Guidelines for International Arrivals’ in view of a decline in Covid-19 cases.

2. The random Covid-19 testing of 2% of all travellers landing in India will continue, the health ministry has said.

3. The new rule will kick in from 13 February for China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand.

4. The decision comes in the wake of a significant decline in coronavirus cases in these countries, over the past few weeks.

5. The letter read: “In view of the above, this ministry is updating its ‘Guidelines for International Arrivals’, and dropping the existing requirements of pre-departure Covid-19 testing and uploading of the Self-Health Declaration on the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s ‘Air Suvidha’ portal applicable for international travellers coming from/via China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Thailand and Japan.”

6. The letter added, “In order to monitor infections due to mutated variants of SARS-CoV-2 among international travellers to India, the present exercise of random testing of two per cent travellers irrespective of their country of origin upon arrival in India shall continue.”

7. Further, according to the World Health Organization’s latest situational update on coronavirus, a decline of 89% in the number of newly confirmed cases in the past 28 days has been noted globally as compared to 28 days prior to that, the Union Health Secretary noted.

8. Recently, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention has said the the possibility of a large new wave of Covid-19 is relatively low in the coming months in China.

9. Meanwhile, India registered 124 new Covid-19 cases, while the active infection numbers have increased to 1,843, as per the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday. The death toll now stands at 5,30,750, the data showed.

10. According to the health ministry’s website, around 220.62 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in India till now under the nationwide vaccination campaign.

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