India is set to establish bilateral air agreements with three African countries, Egypt, Tanzania and South Africa as it begins lifting restrictions on the categories of people who can travel to and from countries with which it has created air bubbles.
According to timesofindia.indiatimes.com, Indian nationals can now travel to countries with which air bubble arrangements have been finalised on any type of visa, the aviation ministry Tweeted Sunday.
At present, India has travel bubbles with US, UK, France and Germany. This list of countries is likely to expand in coming days.
“Restrictions on the entry into India of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holders from countries with which aviation ministry has air bubble arrangements have been removed.
“They are welcome to enter India… foreign nationals belonging to countries with which (India) has air bubble arrangements can now avail Indian visa facility for business, medical and employment purposes in the country,” the aviation ministry Tweeted Sunday.
“In another huge step for Indian nationals wishing to travel abroad, they may travel to countries with which air bubble arrangements have been finalised by (India) on any type of visa,” it added.
Aviation minister H S Puri had recently said India is establishing air bubbles with neighbouring countries; places in Africa like Egypt, Tanzania and South Africa; Canada and Japan.
Indians with valid visas to the UAE may soon be able to travel there under the special arrangements India is working out with several countries. Indian ambassador of India to UAE, Pavan Kapoor, tweeted on Saturday: “I understand that a decision to this effect has now indeed been taken by MHA (Union home ministry) in India.
This will come into effect only after the formal notification from the (Indian) aviation ministry in the next couple of days. Please book your tickets to UAE only after that.” Dubai, the biggest destination for Indian travellers, had conditionally reopened its doors for tourists from July 7, 2020.
On Wednesday (August 5), Ambassador Kapoor had Tweeted that “since the UAE has recently started issuing new visas, we have recommended to authorities in India to consider allowing Indians with valid visas to travel to the UAE. We are hopeful for an early decision.”
Every country has its own set of evolving entry requirements in these pandemic times. For instance, anyone flying to Dubai must have a negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate to be accepted on the flight. This test must be taken a maximum of 96 hours before departure from labs designated by the UAE government in India. This excludes children under the age of 12 and passengers who have a moderate or severe disability.
“You may need to take another Covid-19 PCR test on arrival. If you take a test at the airport, you must remain in your hotel or residence until you receive the test result. If the test result is positive, you will be required to undergo isolation and follow the Dubai Health Authority guidelines. You must also download the Covid-19 – DXB Smart App,” Dubai-based Emirates’ website saying about the current entry requirements for Dubai.
Germany also now requires passengers coming from “high risk” countries like India to be tested for Covid on arrival.
Given the increase in travel these air bubbles are expected to lead to, India is also streamlining the process of international arrivals to fast-track clearance time at airports in these pandemic times. Now people with Covid negative reports of tests conducted within 96 hours of leaving for India and certain categories of distressed arrivals can seek exemption from paid or institutional quarantine.