In the wake of rising concerns about the highly infectious Omicron variant of coronavirus, the central government has released new guidelines for international travellers arriving in India. States such as Karnataka and Maharashtra have also come up with their own set of rules. The inconsistency will confuse the flyers, The Economic Times has reported, quoting executives in airlines and travel companies.
According to rules set up by the Centre, flyers coming into India from at-risk countries must upload a Covid-negative test result and travel plans for 14 days on the government’s Air Suvidha portal. Besides, they should go for a second RT-PCR test on arrival in India.
England, China, South Africa, New Zealand, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel figure among at-risk countries.
According to Maharashtra government’s new set of rules, flyers coming in from at-risk countries one-week institutional quarantine is mandatory. Karnataka government rules stipulate seven-day home quarantine if they have tested negative.
The Economic Times quoted Rajesh Magow, group CEO of travel portal Makemytrip, as saying that it would be great if there is better coordination between the authorities to keep the protocol procedures simple and consistent for customers.
An unnamed senior airline executive is quoted as saying said no lesson is learnt from the abject confusion created by divergent rules and guidelines in the second wave.
Another unnamed airline executive is quoted as saying both bookings have started slowing at a time when demand was reaching close to 90% of pre-Covid levels.
Seven-day home quarantine for negative tests is an overkill, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairperson Biocon, tweeted.
“Day 1 of Omicron travel rules. Up to 6 hours wait for tests. 10 points. Even if you did not have the infection, you are likely to acquire it at the airport,” she said in another tweet
Travel companies are also upset with Maharashtra government’s mandatory RT-PCR tests for all domestic passengers including those vaccinated.
Magow of Makemytrip told the daily that some states have made negative RTPCR mandatory for travellers coming from other states and this may not be necessary for vaccinated people at least for now when Covid-19 in India is under control even after the recent festivities.
Pradeep Shetty, joint honorary secretary at Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), is quoted as saying that panic-stricken advisories are bringing down the recently lifted sentiments