With rising COVID-19 cases in India and the “double mutant” virus being found in the country, many countries have imposed an Indian travel ban. Flights are banned, while others have issued travel advisories to all passengers travelling in and out of India.
Due to the nationwide lockdown, India in March 2020, announced that all scheduled international commercial flights will be cancelled, and normal operations have not resumed yet. Though India initiated the world’s largest repatriation drive under Mission Vande Bharat, the government also announced bilateral pacts with several countries to ease foreign travel.
India was able to create an air bubble agreement with 27 nations, and flights to several other countries were also operational. This, though, is no longer the case.
Read about the countries sending aid to help India’s COVID-19 crisis.
From mandatory RT-PCR tests to compulsory quarantine, here’s a lowdown of restrictions imposed on travellers from India to these countries:
Hong Kong has suspended all flights connecting it with India, Pakistan and the Philippines from April 20 until May 3. As per new regulations, all passengers arriving in Hong Kong will be required to produce a COVID-negative RT-PCR report within 72 hours of arrival.
Though India has previously declared a ban on flights from the UK due to a mutant COVID-19 strain, the UK has now announced a ban on flights from India due to the rise in cases.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has banned all flights from India, except cargo flights, for 10 days beginning April 24 at midnight. The regulations are likely to get extended. Passengers, both Indian and foreign, who have visited India will not be able to access the UAE until they have spent 14 days in other countries, according to the new regulations. However, departure flights will resume, and the suspension will not apply to UAE nationals, diplomatic passport holders, or government delegations.
The Trudeau government suspended international flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days in April. Half the people who are testing positive after arriving in Canada via flights came from India, the Canadian Health Ministry said. Flights from India account for almost 20 per cent of the air traffic of Canada. Cargo flights from India and Pakistan will, however, continue.
Pakistan, too, has decided to ban for two weeks travellers coming from India. The statement said that there will be a ban on inbound passengers coming from India via air and land routes.
New Zealand was among the first countries to declare a provisional ban on Indian visitors, including its own residents. from April 11 to 28.
While there are no regular flight services between Iran and India, the country has banned all flights to and from India and Pakistan.
PM Scott Morrison has confirmed that Australia has suspended all direct passenger flights from India until May 15.
The Netherlands has announced that all passenger flights arriving from India will be suspended beginning May 2. The flight ban was declared on April 25, following new public health recommendations issued by the Cabinet.
Thailand has halted the issuing of travel documents from India due to worries about imported Coronavirus cases.
Italy has joined other countries in enforcing travel restrictions from India, as the country deals with an increase in infections. The order bars foreign travellers who have been in India in the past 14 days from entering the country.
Flights from India, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa have been grounded in France. Travellers entering France from these five countries will be subjected to a mandatory antigen test upon entry, in addition to a pre-boarding RT-PCR test.
The government has decided not to grant visas to any foreigners who have visited India in the last 14 days. Indonesians entering from India will have to follow stricter protocols and quarantine rules.
The Maldives is suspending tourists travelling from India to stay at tourist facilities in inhabited islands. The order is in force from April 27.
Singapore, on Tuesday, announced new safety measures including fewer approvals for people coming from India. From April 24, all long-term pass holders and short-term tourists who have visited India during the last 14 days will be barred from entering or transiting through Singapore.
In addition, people who recently travelled to India and did not complete the 14-day stay-home notice (SHN) by April 22 at midnight would be required to complete the additional seven-day SHN at a dedicated facility rather than their homes. This group will have to undergo three PCR tests.
Kuwait is the latest addition to the list of countries that have banned flights from India. In its directives, the ban is effective from April 24 and all those arriving from India either directly or via another country will be barred from coming back to Kuwait if they have not spent at least 14 days out of India.
However, Kuwaiti citizens, their first-degree relatives and their domestic workers will be allowed to enter the country. Freight flights will continue to operate.
Oman is currently not accepting any passengers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Anyone who has been in these countries in the preceding 14 days won’t be permitted to enter till further notice.
Malaysia halted the entry of Indian nationals and passengers as well as implemented strict controls for ships from India docking at the nation’s ports. The move took effect on April 28.
No passengers travelling from India via land will be allowed to enter Bangladesh from April 26 for the next 14 days. Air travel to Bangladesh has been suspended since April 14.
Countries That Have Issues A Travel Advisory
While formulating the guidelines for people travelling to India from the United States, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautioned the people against the spread in India and recommended people to avoid travelling to India in the current situation where even fully vaccinated individuals are at risk of catching the virus.
If one must travel to India, they should first be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and, once there, they should observe COVID protection precautions such as washing hands, keeping a six-feet distance, and wearing masks at all costs to avoid contracting the virus, added the CDC.
Israel, on Thursday, issued a travel advisory advising people, including those who have recovered from or been vaccinated against COVID-19, to avoid visiting India, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, and Turkey due to high COVID morbidity rates in the seven nations.
Due to a large number of infections, Germany has listed India, Qatar, Oman, Tunisia, and Cape Verde as new coronavirus “high incidence areas” and people returning to Germany from such areas must register with German authorities before travel and then be quarantined upon arrival.