India has fully reopened to vaccinated tourists without quarantine after 20 months of closure because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, foreign tourists entered the nation on regular commercial flights for the first time since the pandemic began. The news comes as COVID-19 cases have dropped significantly, hovering at around 10,000 cases per week nationwide.
“The pandemic devastated the industry but things will return to normal once foreign tourists start to arrive,” said the President of the Travel Agents Association of India, Jyoti Mayal.
India is the second-worst hit nation worldwide after the United States with a reported 35 million COVID-19 cases. The emergence of the Delta variant caused global concern over the winter, but the reopening of international borders is an excellent sign as the nation returns to normality.
The Entry Requirements From November 15
India will reopen — without quarantine on arrival — to travelers from 99 approved nations. These nations include the following:
- United States
- The United Kingdom
- All nations within the EU
- New Zealand
- The U.A.E
Upon arrival, tourists coming from the U.K, France, Germany, Nepal, the Philippines, and Australia can enter Australia without further testing arrangements. That’s because India has agreed on mutual recognition of the vaccine certificate for fully immunized visitors from these countries.
The Union Health Ministry said on November 11, “there are countries which have an agreement with India on mutual recognition of vaccination certificates of nationally recognised or WHO recognised vaccines.
“Similarly, there are countries which presently do not have such agreement with India, but they exempt Indian citizens fully vaccinated with nationally or WHO recognised vaccines. On the basis of reciprocity, the travelers from all such countries which provide quarantine-free entry to Indians are allowed certain relaxations on arrival (Category A countries).”
If travelers are fully vaccinated and from one of the category A countries, the Union Health Ministry say “If a traveler is coming from a country which India has reciprocal agreements for mutual acceptance of WHO approved COVID-19 vaccines (Category A): If fully vaccinated: They shall be allowed to leave the airport and shall self-monitor for 14 days’ post-arrival.”
Unvaccinated travelers can visit India, but they will need evidence of a 72-hour negative COVID-19 test and will have to undergo 7-days of mandatory self-isolation within their hotel.
The COVID-19 Situation In India
Following the massive Delta variant outbreak at the start of 2021, India has reduced COVID-19 cases throughout the country. The current 7-day case average is 11,507, which is down from a peak of around 400,000 cases per day in April.
India has fully vaccinated 26.8 percent of its population after administering over 1.12 billion vaccine doses since the beginning of 2021. India has had 463,655 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
The Current COVID-19 Restrictions Within India
Restrictions in India vary depending on the state. New restrictions can involve city-wide restrictions and curfews. Other measures may include negative COVID-19 tests to enter certain states, random testing in public areas, and mask-wearing laws in all public places.
However, the wearing of a facial or a cloth mask is compulsory in all public places and there are restrictions on all large gatherings nationwide. The government can penalize you with on-the-spot fines if you break restrictions.
All essential services continue to run nationwide, including groceries, ATMs, and pharmacies. What’s more, India has resumed a limited metro and rail service around the country.
The Indian government does introduce strict measures in containment zones, and travelers should be vigilant of the restrictions in the city/state they’re visiting.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com