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Coronavirus lockdown | With India all set to open domestic travel health ministry issues travel guidelines

A bio-organic disinfectant tunnel installed at the Kempegowda International Airport, a day ahead of the resumption of domestic flight operations in a calibrated manner, during the fourth phase of COVID-19 lockdown, in Bengaluru on May 24, 2020.

A bio-organic disinfectant tunnel installed at the Kempegowda International Airport, a day ahead of the resumption of domestic flight operations in a calibrated manner, during the fourth phase of COVID-19 lockdown, in Bengaluru on May 24, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Amid growing uncertainty on the number of flights allowed at specific airports and health protocols to be followed by passengers in each State, the Ministry of Civil Aviation held a meeting on Sunday evening with airlines and airports to finalise routes that could be opened from Monday.

With all domestic (air/ rail/ inter-State bus) travel to resume from Monday, the Health Ministry issued new guidelines for inter-State travel and international arrivals, stating that only COVID-asymptomatic domestic passengers/ international arrivals will be permitted with the advice that they shall self-monitor their health for 14 days.

Also read: Domestic flights to resume with contactless regime in place

However, even before resumption of domestic flights, there was utter confusion among airlines about destinations they could connect to as well as the number of flights they could operate as State governments were reluctant to open airports fearing an increase in COVID-19 cases.

While Mumbai will restart operations from Monday, it will allow only 25 each of arrivals and departures, a fourth of the flights the Centre said airlines (30% of regular flights) could operate to different airports. The decision came hours after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that he had sought more time from the Civil Aviation Ministry to restart operations.

“In case, they develop any COVID symptoms, they shall inform the district surveillance officer or the State/national call centre,” the Health Ministry said on Sunday.

Also read: With around 380 domestic flights, Delhi airport to resume operations from Monday

Both for domestic and international travel those found symptomatic will be isolated and taken to the nearest health facility. They will be assessed for clinical severity at the health facility and advised as per protocol.

However, the Ministry has also instructed States/UTs to develop their own protocol with regards to quarantine and isolation as per their assessment.

The guideline states that in case of international travellers, they shall give an undertaking that they would undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days including 7 days paid institutional quarantine at their own cost, followed by 7 days isolation at home with self-monitoring of health.

However in exceptional and compelling reasons — of human distress, pregnancy, death in family, serious illness and parent(s) accompanied by children below 10 years, as assessed by the receiving States, home quarantine may be permitted for 14 days with the mandatory use of Aarogya Setu app.

Also read: Coronavirus lockdown | Domestic flights may resume soon

The Ministry has added that only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board or come through land borders.

For domestic travel, instructions will be provided along with tickets by the agencies concerned, the Ministry said and added that all passengers should download Arogya Setu app.

It added that during boarding and travel, all passengers shall use face covers/mask. They will also follow hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and maintain environmental hygiene.

“At airports/railway stations/ bus terminals required measures to ensure social distancing shall be taken and these places shall be regularly sanitized/disinfected and availability of soaps and sanitizers shall be ensured,” added the Ministry.

Here are the full guidelines:

Click here to read the domestic travel guidelines

Click here to read the international arrivals guidelines

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 8:25:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/covid-19-health-ministry-releases-guidelines-for-international-arrivalsdomestic-travel/article31663487.ece

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