January 14 – India may lift COVID-19 restrictions soon, say government
Private businesses in Delhi were forced to close their doors on Tuesday and send their staff to work from home. Restaurants and bars have been closed as well and only takeout is permitted. A night curfew has been in effect since December.
However, the government claims that incidences in Delhi are stabilizing and that infections are likely to decline soon.
Restrictions will be relaxed if COVID instances in Delhi decline in the next few days, stated Minister Satyendar Jain.
“Hospitalization rate has stabilized and cases have plateaued. There are still several beds vacant,” he said at a press briefing.
December 23 – Delhi and other Indian states have updated guidelines for international travelers
Multiple Indian states have updated their guidelines for domestic and international visitors traveling to Delhi and other Indian states.
“Attention travelers! Traveling to Delhi. Take a look at the latest State-wise Quarantine Guidelines. Take all the necessary measures and be a #COVID_Hero #TravelSafeTravelMindfully,” tweeted a government official.
RT-PCR testing on arrival is now required for travelers from Brazil, the United Kingdom, China, South Africa, Mauritius, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Botswana, and Israel.
Those who test positive for COVID-19 will be quarantined for 10 days at a government-approved facility.
Who is allowed entry to India?
As of today, only travelers arriving through any of India’s 32 travel bubbles.
What are the entry requirements to be granted access to India?
All travelers must apply for a visa from the Indian Embassy beforehand.
In order to enter the country, they must fill out a self-declaration form 72 hours before departure and submit a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test upon arrival.
Submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours before arrival.
If they do not have negative test results, they will face 7 days of institutional quarantine followed by 7 days of at-home isolation.
COVID-19 cases in India
As of January 14, India has reported 36,582,129 positive COVID cases and 485,350 deaths caused by the virus. India is now the second world’s second worst-hit country, after the United States.
However, even when lockdowns were in effect, the lack of contact tracing and the extremely crowded conditions in the cities made it hard to contain the spread of Covid-19.
How safe is it to travel to India?
While not all parts of India are dealing with a rise in cases, most of the major cities are.
While many hotels, restaurants, beaches, and other tourist sites have been opening up, they are doing so with limited seating capacity, thermal checks, and other restrictions.
According to the CDC, the COVID-19 situation in India is at warning level 4. This means travelers should not visit the country at the moment. (Source: CDC.gov)
Why visit India?
India is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations and it has an architecture that is rooted in this history.
Here visitors will find 32 UNESCO World Heritage sites which make this a delight for those who love history or design.
One building that should be on everyone’s bucket list is the Taj Mahal, which is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a marble mausoleum for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
In addition to this stunning structure, there are many other architectural wonders in India. There are the ruins of ancient cities, forts dating from the British era, and more recent monuments from after India’s independence. The variety of temples, mosques, and churches speak of India’s religious diversity.
Travelers will find Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Catholics, Jains, and Buddhists. Many tourists come to India to develop a deeper appreciation for their own spirituality, whether at a meditation or yoga retreat or simply through visiting the local holy sites.
There is also a wide variety of foods, from moderately spicy northern curries to the burning hot flavors of the South. Some of the tastiest meals can be made up of Indian street food, sold by vendors who specialize in just a few dishes.
Indian people are considered to be among the most gracious in Asia. Everywhere tourists go, they are greeted with smiles.
India Reopening: Update Archives
December 12 – Some Indian states have introduced travel restrictions due to a new wave of coronavirus
Maharashtra – has requested all overseas travelers to submit their travel history of the previous two weeks before boarding planes to the city.
Karnataka – all international passengers from ‘at-risk’ nations will be required to take a mandatory RT-PCR test and self-isolate for seven days, according to officials.
New Delhi – The government of New Delhi has asked all passengers arriving from at-risk nations to self-isolate for seven days.
Also, visitors from over a dozen countries must submit their itinerary details to the official Air Suvidha portal, as well as present a negative COVID-19 test.
November 10 – India celebrates major national festival amid COVID-19 restrictions
Diwali, one of the major lights festivals celebrated by Indians is taking place among a number of COVID-19 curbs.
Due to an increase in coronavirus infections in Maharashtra, the Karnataka government announced on Tuesday new restrictions in the state’s border areas as well as extra surveillance measures for visitors from Mumbai.
“Even though Karnataka and Maharashtra have shown vast improvement in COVID situation, the daily caseload and test positivity rate are slightly higher in Maharashtra compared to Karnataka,” the state government said.
October 23 – India’s land borders will be closed until Nov. 15.
Starting October 15, the Indian government reopened international air and maritime borders to foreign tourists, putting an end to the restrictions that have lasted for over a year.
But, for reasons that the government has not made public, no visas would be issued to foreigners visiting India via land borders until at least Nov. 15.
This means that people attempting to cross the land border between India and China, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, or Myanmar will be denied entry.
October 11 – India set to reopen for foreign tourists from Oct.15
International travelers will be able to apply for tourist visas from October 15, the day the country officially reopens for tourism after more than a year of closure.
“After considering various inputs, the MHA (Home Ministry) has decided to begin granting fresh Tourist Visas for foreigners coming to India through chartered flights with effect from October 15, 2021,” The ministry said in a statement.
The ministry also announced that visitors entering India on flights other than chartered aircraft will need to wait until November 15, 2021.
Air Canada has already increased the Toronto-Delhi service to 3 weekly flights from October 15.
September 28 – India to announce international border reopening over the next few days
Senior Minister Luhut Pandjaitan has announced India is working on “modalities for opening up of the country for foreign tourists,” and will reveal the official reopening date over the next few days.
The reopening strategy also includes granting 5,000 tourist visas for free to boost tourism.
A positive indicator is that multiple countries have been lifting their travel bans on India. Canada is the latest joining the list of countries allowing direct flights from India from Sept. 27 after a five-month closure.
September 15 – India extends travel restrictions to other 7 countries
In view of the new coronavirus variants of concern, particularly the one called Mu first detected in Colombia, South America, and now present in more than 40 countries worldwide, the Indian government decided to extend its entry restrictions to other countries.
“Considering the risk of mutations in SARS-CoV-2, we have added to the list of the UK, EU and Middle East more countries, including South Africa, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand and Zimbabwe, ”said the Union Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan at a press briefing.
International arrivals from these countries now need to submit a RT-PCR negative test to be allowed boarding.
August 30 – India to extend international travel ban through Sept. 30
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has decided to extend India’s inbound travel ban through Sept. 30 as part of the strategy to reduce the incidence of coronavirus infections in the territory.
Travelers visiting for essential reasons and the international flights that had scheduled will not be affected by the measure.
In the last 24 hours, India reported 42,909 new COVID-19 cases and 380 deaths bringing the death toll to 4.4 million according to the Union Health Ministry. That’s up to 10 times higher than the Indian government’s official death toll.
August 16 – Inbound travel from India still banned in most EU countries
Some countries around the world have started to welcome back travelers from India. The most recent one being Spain, which also reopened its visa center in Delhi.
However, most EU countries still refuse to accept travelers from India due to concerns about the Delta variant that was first discovered in its territory.
The Czech Republic, Austria, Estonia and Germany will only accept visitors for emergency reasons after spending 10 days in quarantine.
Iceland, the Netherlands, Croatia, Portugal, Finland, and Italy will request fully vaccinated visitors from India to also present a negative COVID-19 test and spend 5 days in quarantine. Only essential travel is allowed.
On the other hand, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, Greece and Spain have eased restrictions for arrivals from India.
July 14 – India extends ban on international travel through July 31
India has extended its ban on inbound travel through July 31 amid concerns of a third wave of coronavirus fueled by the Delta variant, first detected in its territory.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), has requested the government not to reopen for tourism over the months to come.
“Tourist bonanza, pilgrimage travel, religious fervour are all needed, but can wait for few more months,” the IMA said, adding that attendants of these mass gatherings are “potential super spreaders for the COVID third wave.”
As for now, repatriation, and approved commercial flights under bilateral “travel bubble” agreements can continue operating.
June 25 – India will face a third wave of COVID-19 cases in October due to early reopening
India is seeing a slow but optimistic drop in coronavirus infections. From the peak of 400,000 cases a few weeks ago, the daily record has dropped to an average of 70,000 to 80,000.
Following this positive news, several states have started to ease lockdowns across the country.
Major cities like Maharashtra, Delhi, Haryana, and Karnataka have already reopened shops, restaurants and hotels.
However, epidemiologists, health experts and other authorities say a third wave is inevitable and would impact India by October, 2021.
“We think this reopening strategy is not prudent and may result in a renewed rise in infections and re-tightening of restrictions in the future” […] “vaccination rates are far below the levels deemed to be safe for easing social distancing measures substantially in the more populous and economically important states,” said Priyanka Kishore, head of India and Southeast Asia economics at Oxford Economics.
June 10 – India reopens major cities but extends international flight ban through June 30
With 91,227 new infections over the past 24 hours, India has reported the lowest positive infection rate since the beginning of April when the country was seeing more than 400,000 new cases per day.
This – relative – positive news led authorities to allow business to reopen key Indian cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai.
Other restrictions such as curfews remain in place in multiple zones.
Also, international passenger flights will remain banned at least until June 30. Those visiting for essential reasons must register online through the Air Suvidha portal and upload their negative (RT-PCR) test results. Quarantine is not mandatory by advised.
May 24 – India might start lifting restrictions on May 31 as COVID-19 situation improves
First and foremost, all India continues to be closed for tourism to most countries.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Sunday that if the epidemiology data continue to show positive figures, the country may start gradually lifting a number of restrictions from May 31.
“The battle is not over yet. Even now, more than 1,000 cases are emerging daily. The general opinion is that the lockdown should be extended for another week. If we are to lift the lockdown right now, then whatever we have gained after struggle, hard work and sacrifice of one month might be lost,” said the Chief Minister on Sunday.
So far, India is counting 255,283 new daily average COVID-19 cases.
May 5 – India’s COVID-19 devastation may affect other countries reopening plans
COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc in the second-most populous country in the world. With 400,000 new infections and more than 4,000 deaths per day, the country’s health system has already collapsed.
Top scientific advisers to the Indian government have said that given that Covid-19 is a global issue, the consequences will be devastating if the international community does help India to control the pandemic ASAP.
The new variant B.1.617, first discovered in India, is suspected to be more infectious and possibly able to resist the immunity provided by the current vaccines against COVID-19. India as the major provider of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide threatens the vaccine supply in multiple countries as well as the reopening plans, according to experts.
April 19 – Multiple countries have expressed concerns about the new “Indian” coronavirus variant.
Health officials from India and the U.K, are closely monitoring and investigating if the new B.1.617 variant a.k.a “the Indian variant” that has already infected around a hundred people in India, the U.K. and Scotland, and some more in Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Singapore, and the U.S., has the potential to evade the efficacy of the vaccines.
This so-called “double-mutation variant” could be behind the latest deadlier COVID-19 wave of infections the country has experienced since the pandemic began.
In case this new variant is in fact fueling the pandemic in the U.K., as some epidemiologists have suggested, it could have a negative impact nor only on India’s health system but also on the country’s reopening plan and its travel bubbles.
The Indian government has been officially holding inter-ministerial meetings to create a strategy that allows them to reopen the country for tourism to countries where the COVID-19 situation is under control, according to local media.
Additionally, effective on February 17, India opened a new air travel bubble with Russia. Commercial airlines of both these countries are allowed to restart flights to and from them.