India mandates pre-departure Covid tests for pax arriving from five Asian countries including Thailand and Singapore


MUMBAI: From January 1, passengers from Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, China and Korea will not be allowed to board flights to India without a mandatory negative RT-PCR certificate, according to latest guidelines issued on Thursday by the union ministry of health and family welfare.
The new guidelines will come into effect from 10 am on Sunday, January 1, 2023.
“A mandatory requirement for pre-departure RT-PCR testing (to be conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey) is being introduced for passengers arriving on all international flights from these countries,” said the order. The ministry of civil aviation’s Air Suvidha portal will be made operational so that the passengers travelling into India from these countries can submit/upload negative RT-PCR test reports and submit a self-declaration form on this portal, it said. The existing practice of post-arrival random testing of 2 % travellers (irrespective of port of departure) shall continue, it added.
The new guidelines will hit a large number of Indian tourists, with Thailand and Singapore being popular international destinations this year with scores of Indians. Close to 200 flights per week currently operate between Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Thai cities of Bangkok and Phuket. Indians now make for the largest tourist arrivals into Thailand by air, according to data shared recently by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Thailand has always been a popular holiday destination with Indians, but pre-pandemic India stood at number five slot in terms of tourist arrivals. Today India is at number two, after Malaysia.
The total number of visitor arrivals into Thailand for the 1 January-26 October, 2022, period was about 73 lakh and among the top five source markets were Malaysia with 12 lakh arrivals followed by India with 6.6 lakh visitors.

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