US eases Covid-19 alert for India from high to low risk

‘Make sure you are vaccinated and up to date with your Covid-19 vaccines before traveling to India,’ CDC advises

With Covid-19 case numbers and test positivity decreasing in many regions of India, US authorities have lowered travel health alert for India from Level 3 (high risk) to Level 1 (low risk).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 1 Travel Health Notice due to Covid-19, indicating a low level of Covid-19 in the country.

“Make sure you are vaccinated and up to date with your Covid-19 vaccines before traveling to India,” CDC advised. “Even if you are up to date with your Covid-19 vaccines, you may still be at risk for getting and spreading Covid-19. Anyone 2 years or older should properly wear a well-fitting mask in indoor public spaces.”

Read: Covid-19: US CDC provides $3.6 million to support India’s response (May 12, 2020)

CDC also advised travelers to follow all requirements and recommendations in India.

However, the State has issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory advising increased caution in India due to crime and terrorism.

“Your risk of contracting Covid-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine,” the State Department said in its advisory.

“Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC’s specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers,” it advised.

The US embassy in New Delhi “strongly urged” US citizens who must travel to India to get fully vaccinated and get a booster shot before travel and take additional personal health safety measures to protect themselves.

These include practicing social or physical distancing, cleaning hands with soap/hand sanitizer, wearing well-fitted masks, and avoiding crowded areas with poor ventilation.

Entry into some public places (e.g. malls) require proof of vaccination, it noted. The CDC recommends that US citizens get flu shots to better protect themselves from a major flu outbreak and reduce the need to access the local health system at this time.

Finally, US citizens should continue to obey measures introduced by Indian officials designed to mitigate Covid-19 outbreaks in their areas. Face masks are almost universally required to be worn in public, especially in urban areas, indoors, and on public transportation.

These regulations are being strictly enforced, and US citizens should be aware that failure to adhere to mask-wearing norms reflects poorly on foreign residents and is likely to result in a fine, the embassy noted.

Travel to India for tourism and other short-term purposes has resumed fully for individuals holding tourist or e-tourist visas. Valid visas, which were previously suspended due to Covid-19 precautions, have been fully reinstated and are valid for travel until their printed expiration dates.

Additional categories of travelers including certain business travelers, as well as individuals moving to India as residents, are permitted.
reciprocal vaccination recognition with India.

As of Feb 14, all international travelers age 5 and older arriving in India, must upload either a negative RT-PCR report taken within 72 hours of the start of their journey or a certificate of completion of full primary series Covid-19 vaccination to the Air Suvidha portal.

Additional testing on entry/quarantine may apply based on random testing upon arrival. All international passengers must visit and submit a self-declaration form at least 72 hours prior to departure for India.

Read: US eases COVID-19 travel advisory for India from ‘Level 3’ to ‘Level 1’ (March 29, 2022)

All travelers will undergo thermal screening upon arrival. Symptomatic travelers will be isolated and re-tested.

Two percent of all travelers, regardless of vaccination status, will be selected for testing on arrival. Travelers selected for testing on arrival will be permitted to depart the airport following collection of the test sample and do not have to wait for results.

All travelers are required to self-monitor for 14 days after arrival.

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