India Mandating RT-PCR Test for Travellers from China, 5 Other Countries

Amid the surge in COVID-19 cases in China, the Indian government has made it mandatory for travellers coming from China to have a negative RT-PCR report. Along with China, five other nations have been put under the same travel guideline to prevent a surge in cases in India.

The Indian government has announced that travellers coming from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Thailand will need to have a negative RT-PCR report before they travel. The move comes amid the surge in COVID-19 cases in China following the easing of restrictions brought on by the country’s zero-COVID policy. According to Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya, this change will be implemented from January 1 next year and travellers will be required to upload their reports on the Air Suvidha portal before travel.

India is expecting its COVID cases to go up in the next 40 days following New Year. The country is preparing for it by imposing more strict travel restrictions. It also tested 6,000 random travellers at the airport over a two-day period and 39 of them tested positive, according to sources.

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Not just India, several other countries have implemented some kind of special testing requirement for travellers from China. The US announced earlier this week that starting from January 5, every traveller from China will need a negative COVID-19 test at most two days before travel. Other countries have also altered their testing requirements for travellers from China. Taiwan and South Korea are asking for COVID-19 tests from travellers departing from China. Malaysia will be implementing tracking and surveillance measures while Japan requires a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival for travellers from China.

Canada, however, has not yet made any such change. As per a spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the agency “continues to monitor and assess the global epidemiology of COVID-19 for the health and safety of Canadians.” He added, “Any other updates will be communicated to travellers through a travel health notice.”

China eased the restrictions under its zero-COVID policy earlier this month and since then, cases have been on the rise. In some regions, hospitals have been overwhelmed. The government of China has also altered the way it records positive COVID cases, which the US claims to be inadequate and lacks transparency.

Vineet Washington

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