NEW DELHI (INDIA) – In a bid to contain the spread of more infectious virus variants found in the UK, South Africa and Brazil, India will make COVID-19 molecular tests mandatory for people arriving directly or indirectly from these countries.
India detected the South African variant in four people last month and the Brazilian one in one person this month.
The government has informed that the South African and Brazilian strains can more easily infect a person’s lungs than the UK mutation. India has so far reported 187 cases of infection with the UK variant.
The government late on Wednesday said airlines would be required to segregate inbound travellers from those countries from next week. Since India does not have direct flights with Brazil and South Africa, most people travelling from these countries generally transit through Middle Eastern airports.
“All the travellers arriving from/transiting through flights originating in United Kingdom, Europe or the Middle East shall be mandatorily subjected to self-paid confirmatory molecular tests on arrival,” India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a statement.
All flyers will also have to carry a recent COVID-negative report before boarding any flight to India, except in extraordinary circumstances like death in a family.