All passengers travelling from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Republic of Korea, Thailand and Japan should carry an RT-PCR covid-19 test certificate to be allowed entry to India.

The tests will have to be taken within 72 hours before the journey begins. The new rule has been made applicable from January 1, 2023.

According to a Health Ministry statement, the same rule will apply to transiting passengers through these countries, irrespective of their originating countries before coming to any Indian airport.

The health ministry has asked the Ministry of Civil Aviation to make its Air Suvidha portal operational to allow the international travellers arriving in India to submit negative RT-PCR test reports as well as to submit self declaration form on the portal.

The existing practice of post-arrival random testing of 2% of travellers, irrespective of port of departure, will continue. All positive samples from these random tests will be sent for genomic testing at the designated Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) laboratory network.

The new decision comes in the backdrop of reports regarding the circulation of new variants of SARS-CoV-2 in these countries. The ministry’s decision is part of the government’s efforts to restrict the spread of Covid-19 cases after new cases continue to remain alarmingly high across the globe.

India’s active caseload stands at 2,670. There were 207 recoveries and 173 new cases recorded in the last 24 hours. The health ministry said India has conducted 91.1 crore tests so far, with 92,955 tests conducted in the last 24 hours.

Globally, as of December 2022, there have been 651,918,402 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 6,656,601 deaths. As of 21 December 2022, a total of 13,073,712,554 vaccine doses have been administered.

Some two weeks ago, the central government has asked all states and Union Territories (UTs) to step up vigil against Covid-19 cases and ensure that samples of all positive cases, on a daily basis, are sent to the designated Genome Sequencing Laboratories.

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