The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has been affecting the global international travel industry since its inception in March last year, and with succeeding waves and multiple new variants being discovered all across the world, the industry has not been able to get back on its feet yet. Although the situation has improved in many parts of the world, largely due to the success of vaccines, there are still countries that continue to fight against this pandemic.
At such a time, where many people are looking for a way out to travel internationally, be it for family commitments, business or even pleasure, there remains much ambiguity on the constantly-changing international travel guidelines and quarantine rules for most destinations abroad.
International Travel Guidelines
• The most important directive from the Government remains that you should not travel until and unless it is absolutely vital. And even if you do, ensure that you have had your COVID-19 vaccine in India before travelling internationally from the country. Vaccine drives have been largely popular in the country and unvaccinated people are recommended to not travel during these times.
• Flights to and from India have been suspended by several international airlines, making it is important to reconsider or re-plan the trip for many travellers.
• For fully vaccinated travellers, it is recommended that you understand and follow all guidelines for international arrivals related to travel, wearing mask, testing, or quarantine, which may differ from country to country. It is also recommended to keep a check on the new guidelines for international flights regularly, to avoid last-minute hassles.
• Many countries require international travellers to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 3 days old, or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months, either before boarding the flight or at the destination, or both.
• Getting tested for COVID-19 within 3-5 days of arrival at the destination country is also required by countries like the USA, apart from self-isolation and quarantine.
Quarantine Rules for International Passengers
New rules for international travellers in many countries include spending time in mandatory quarantine facilities so as to minimise the risk of spreading infection.
• Firstly, most nations such as the USA, the UK, Canada and the EU among others require travellers to be fully vaccinated with either one of the approved vaccines. State governments of such nations have provided international flights guidelines which strictly declare that unvaccinated travellers will not be allowed to board their flights.
• Mandatory quarantine of up to 14 days is overseen by the government bodies, any violation of which will result in strict actions against the traveller.
• Government bodies in these countries also require international travellers to get tested for COVID-19 within 3-5 days or arrival at designated COVID test centres.
Where can Indians Travel?
Most countries that are open to Indian travellers require a mandatory quarantine period after entering the borders of the country, which might vary for each country. However, there are some countries which Indian travellers can choose to travel to without having to undergo the compulsory quarantine period. These include Afghanistan, Armenia, the Maldives, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Iceland, Costa Rica, Serbia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Bosnia, and Mali among others.
This comes as a slight relief to many Indian travellers who were looking to get away from the stressful situation in India. But since the situation keeps on evolving, it might not come as a surprise if these countries as well put a travel ban in place as a preventive measure.
Precautions at the Airport
• Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet (2 meters) with other people.
• Avoid contact with anyone who you think is sick.
• Limit contact with frequently touched surfaces, such as handrails, elevator buttons and kiosks. If you do contact these surfaces immediately sanitise your hands afterwards.
• Wear a face mask in indoor public spaces and outdoors where it is not possible to maintain social distancing.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth frequently. Cover your nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing.
• Clean your hands often for at least 20 seconds.
International travel restrictions may have eased in many parts of the world, but several countries still have restrictions for Indian travellers. What is important to understand is that these foreign travel rules are dynamic and might change frequently.
It, of course, helps to stay on top of these guidelines for international travellers is a must, what also takes precedence is considering if the trip is actually required. At the same time, you should also keep checking the Government of India’s MHA guidelines for international flights for accurate and up-to-date information on international travel from India.
At Emoha, we follow a humanized approach in all the services we offer, be it healthcare assistance at home, care calls, convenience, or engagement initiatives. At this time, we are focusing on bringing relevant topics that keep you updated in times of COVID. For us, it is always #EldersFirst