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Guidelines for International Flights during Covid-19

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AVIATION SECTOR FLIGHTS DGCA LAW INSIDER IN

By Snehil Sharma-

The Covid-19 (Coronavirus disease) pandemic, which is alleged to have its origin in china has now marked its spread in numerous countries throughout the world with a large number of cases being detected. India is also one of those countries in which covid-19 is spreading and it is likely to face problems in future due to its 1.34 billion population. It is the need of an hour for India to opt various strategies towards preventing the spread within the country. These strategies include in-depth & quantitive analysis, tools for statistics and computational modeling which will eventually result in lesser cases and evolution of newer ways of treatment.

This virus spread is being linked inextricably to the Indian economy because it has marked a negative impact upon the industrial sectors of the country. The Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has taken necessary steps to curb the virus outbreak within the country and prevent the ways through which it can spread. Various wartime protocols and measures have been implemented to ensure appropriate defense mechanism against this outbreak[1].

Preventing the transmission of virus from foreign countries through the travelers has also been a matter of concern for the government and Various guidelines have been issued by the Central Ministry concerning the international flights on 2nd August 2020 and the same will be applicable from 8th August 2020[2]. These guidelines replaced the earlier guidelines which were issued on May 2020 and can be further subdivided into following:

Guidelines for passengers who are planning visit in India

All the travelers who are required to submit a form of self-declaration through the e-portal i.e. www.newdelhiairport.in. The same is required to be done at least seventy-two hours prior to the travel scheduled.

 The travelers are also required to submit undertaking on the e-portal accepting the mandatory quarantine period of fourteen days which inhibits institutional quarantine of seven days at the cost incurred by them. Such quarantine shall be followed by the home quarantine of seven days.

Those cases which are concerning human distress e.g. serious illness, death in family, pregnancy and parents with minor child below 10 years will be considered and home quarantine of fourteen days shall be allowed to them. However, they are supposed to seek such exception through applying on e-portal at least seventy-two hours prior to boarding the flight. The decision regarding the exemption shall be communicated by the government through e-portal and shall be final.

If travelers are willing to seek exemption from the prescribed institutional quarantine, they are required to provide negative RTCPR report on arrival. The test report shall be latest and such test would’ve been conducted within ninety-six hours prior to the journey. Such test will also be submitted on the e- portal while seeking consideration. The passenger will also provide declaration stating that the test report is authentic and he will be taking criminal prosecution if any irregularity is found regarding the report. The report can also be submitted at entry point of Indian airport after arrival[3].

Guidelines regarding boarding of Flight.

Agencies shall be providing the dos and don’ts to the travelers with the boarding tickets.

It is mandatory to download the Arogya Setu app developed by Indian Government for the passengers. This app provides appropriate details regarding the status of Covid in India.

While boarding the flight, only those travelers shall to be allowed who are found asymptomatic after the process of thermal screening.

Airports are directed to take every precautionary measures which is suitable to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Disinfectant sprays & Environmental Sanitation shall be done within fixed intervals.

Social Distancing shall be ensured during issuing boarding passes and boarding of flight.

Guidelines to be followed during travel.

Those travelers who were not able to submit the form of self- declaration can do the same in duplicate during the flight and can submit the copy to the officials of Health and Immigration authority present in the Airport. If the online facilities are available, the passenger can also do the same in the airport itself.

Precautionary measures and all the concerned information of Covid-19 shall be announced at the airports during the transit of passengers.

All the hygiene i.e. hand, hygiene and respiratory etc. shall be followed by staff and crew of Airlines and wearing masks will be mandatory while boarding the flight.

Guidelines after arrival of passengers

Deboarding of flights shall be done keeping in mind the norms of social distancing.

Every passenger will undergo thermal screening process by the officials of health authority at the airport. Copy of self-declaration form shall be shown to the airport officials of health authority which is filled through e-portal or physically.

Those passengers which are detected as symptomatic during the thermal screening process shall be taken to medical facility and isolated immediately in compliance with the health protocols of the country.

After the process of thermal screening has taken place, passengers who have been exempted from the institutional quarantine are supposed to show the decision through e-portal to the state counters prior to being allowed for the fourteen days’ quarantine[4].

Those passengers who are not exempted will be taken to the facilities for prescribed institutional quarantine. Such facilities will be arranged by the concerned state & UT governments.

Passengers will undergo the quarantine period of seven days in the institutional quarantine. While this quarantine period, they will be tested in compliance with the protocol of ICMR and if they are tested positive during the same, they are supposed to be assessed clinically.

Once they are tested positive, they will be assessed as pre-symptomatic, asymptomatic or very mild. Once accessed they will be directed to home isolation/ Covid-center isolation (public or private) as per the situations.

Those travelers who are detected with symptoms which are moderate, mild or severe will be referred to the health facilities which are dedicated for Covid care. Once the report of such traveler is found negative, he will be advised for seven-day home isolation.

If the travelers observe symptoms of Covid, they will be contacting the surveillance officer of district or helpline numbers dedicated to Covid i.e. 1075[5].

A thorough adherence to these guidelines is the only way we can secure ourselves a future that has the hope for betterment of the present conditions. The guidelines may seem inconvenient, time consuming or even rigorous, but as of now, are of utmost importance for our own safety. It is thus required for all of us to join hands together in these difficult times and to do everything possible in our capabilities to contribute our bit in controlling the vast destruction that this virus is aiming to have upon our nation. Let us together, hope for a bright future where the air travel gets back to normal but for now, let us open heartedly accept this “new-normal”.


[1] Udhaya Kumar, 2020. The Rise and Impact of COVID-19 In India. [online] frontiersin.org. Available at: <https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmed.2020.00250/full>.

[2] Id.

[3] The Indian Express. 2020. Explained: The Latest Rules for Those Flying into India. [online] Available at: <https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-need-to-travel-to-india-from-abroad-here-are-the-health-ministrys-latest-rules-6536123/>.

[4] Debanish Achom., 2020. Centre’s New Guidelines for International Passengers Entering India. [online] NDTV.com. Available at: <https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/coronavirus-centres-new-guidelines-for-international-passengers-entering-india-2272959>.

[5] Supra Note 2