| 6 December 2023, Wednesday |

India’s new Covid-19 quarantine rules anger travellers

International visitors and returning expats to India have expressed their displeasure with the government’s new mandated week-long quarantine for everyone.

The country has changed its travel advisories in response to a large increase in infection cases blamed on the Omicron type of the coronavirus.

From Tuesday, authorities implemented quarantine measures on all foreign arrivals, altering earlier laws that required seven-day home isolation exclusively for travellers traveling from the “at-risk” list of countries.

Incoming travelers must additionally upload their Covid-19 PCR test results to a government portal to be monitored by regional authorities on the eighth day, while their health is continuously checked for another week.

Passengers who are discovered to be symptomatic throughout the screening process will be segregated and transferred to a medical institution. If their samples are positive, they will be submitted for genome sequencing to confirm the Omicron strain.

According to the Ministry of Health, India is experiencing a tremendous increase of Covid-19 instances, with over 194,000 new cases and 442 fatalities on Wednesday.

Omicron instances were also verified in about 4,900 people.

The updated limits for inbound arrivals issued by the Indian government aim to limit the spread of the highly transmissible strain discovered in South Africa in November.

However, the new regulations have enraged and disheartened many tourists.

Shantanu Bhamare, from Sydney, Australia, was planned a trip to attend his brother’s wedding on January 14.

The electrical engineer, 26, fled India three years ago and hasn’t seen his family since the outbreak.

When the limitations were lifted, his family set the wedding date so that Mr Bhamare could fly in and join the festivities.

However, because to the updated isolation regulation, he will have to miss all of the celebrations because his required home quarantine expires after the wedding day.

“I believe the government should reconsider these restrictions.” “International travelers are supplying the authorities with 72-hour pre-departure RT-PCR test results, which are sufficient to indicate the person is not sick,” Mr Bhamare added.

According to Javed Shaikh, the increased limitations would also put a damper on people who have made elaborate arrangements with their family after not seeing them in years.

The 29-year-old IT specialist last saw his parents in 2019. His daughter has now reached the age of three.

He was overjoyed to finally be able to see his parents in February, but the one-week isolation means his month-long vacation plans have been cut short.

“We were planned a four-week trip, but one week has been canceled owing to home quarantine,” Mr Shaikh explained.

“We were also planned interstate trips within India with our families, but I don’t believe we’ll be able to do that now… “We’re at a crossroads,” Mr Shaikh told The National.

  • The National News