Following months of lockdown, the Indian government has taken various measures to restart travelling in the country. However, health concerns continue to underline this move. Therefore, every state government is free to follow different quarantine guidelines with respect to their on-ground situation. Here is a capsule of each of these travel-related quarantine rules. By Bayar Jain
General Guidelines (as on September 16)
The Ministry of Home Affairs has released a set of guidelines to be followed irrespective of the destination state. Although no restrictions on inter-state or intra-state travel are in place according to the guidelines, containment zones will continue to remain in lockdown till September 30 where movement beyond the zones will remain prohibited. These ever-evolving list of zones will be notified via respective state or union territory websites, states the release. E-permits for interstate movement, too, have been discontinued as per the guidelines. The release also advises the use of the Aarogya Setu app by all passengers, mandatory use of face masks or covers throughout the journey, hygienic practices, and social distancing at all points. Railways, airports, and bus terminals, too, have to be routinely sanitised and disinfected.
In case of international passengers entering India, passengers will additionally have to submit a self-declaration form on an online portal at least 72 hours before the scheduled travel, states another list of guidelines issued by the MoHFW. Moreover, an undertaking must also be submitted stating mandatory quarantine for 14 days, divided equally between institutional first, and home isolation next. However, an exemption for institutional quarantine is in place for compelling reasons (which must be applied for online at least 72 hours before boarding), or by submitting a negative RTPCR test report on arrival that must first be uploaded on the portal for consideration. This is in addition to the guidelines mandated for domestic travel. Notably, international air travel continues to be restricted, except as permitted by the MHA.
State-wise Guidelines (as on September 16)
Andaman and Nicobar islands
As per a release issued on their website by the Union Territory Disaster Management Committee Executive, anyone entering the islands – irrespective of the mode – has to mandatorily undertake a 14-day home quarantine. A tweet by Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) states that all symptomatic passengers will be tested and made to undergo institutional quarantine till test results are released.
MoCA states that people travelling to Andhra Pradesh require an e-pass issued by the Spandana portal. This, however, is restricted to students, pilgrims, and migrant labours under acute distress as per the portal. The portal further states that symptomatic passengers will have to undertake a mandatory seven-day institutional quarantine, post which the period could be extended basis retest results. If found negative, the passenger has to undertake home quarantine for an additional seven days. However, all travellers from high incidence areas like Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh will be institutionally quarantined till COVID-19 results are out. After seven days, if the test is found to be negative, these passengers will be released for a seven day home quarantine.
Asymptomatic passengers arriving by flight to Assam will have to undergo a combination of institutional and home-quarantine for 14 days according to a release by the state government. Additionally, the state will also run payment-based bus services from the airport four times a day to facilitate passengers to their final destinations. Those who wish to make use of authorised taxis or private vehicles will have to submit an undertaking of the same to the district administrations. Pregnant women, elderly persons above 75 years, persons attending the funeral of immediate relation, children under the age of 10, immediate relatives of hospitalised patients, and passengers with pre-existing health conditions are exempt from institutional quarantine. However, 14-day home quarantine must be followed.
A letter available on State Health Society, Bihar’s website states that the guidelines issued by the MoHFW remain valid in their state as well. Further Airports Authority of India states that asymptomatic international arrivals have to abide by a seven day home and institutional quarantine, both.
According to MoCA, people arriving to Chandigarh must register on the Punjab COVA app before commencing the journey, post which they will be randomly tested upon arrival. While those who test positive will be sent to isolation wards, all others—including asymptomatic passengers—will be required to home quarantine for 14 days.
An e-pass obtained from the the state’s dedicated COVID site is required to enter, according to MoCA’s tweet. Additionally, a 14-day home quarantine is also mandatory. The Airports Authority of India also states that passengers without symptoms would be required to stay in paid quarantine for 14 days.
The Delhi government has made it mandatory passengers to home quarantine for seven days, as per MoCA. International passengers will have to undertake a week-long institutional quarantine at governmental facilities (for free) or at designated hotels (paid). As per a report by BBC, travellers showing mild to severe symptoms of the virus will be admitted to a COVID-19 facility. As an added measure of security, thermal screening will be undertaken for all arriving passengers.
A report by ANI states that tourists are allowed to visit the state, however, only if they produce a COVID-19 negative test report within the stipulated 48 hours. If they don’t have a test report, their testing would be conducted by the state, post which they will have to self-isolate till the negative reports return. In case the passenger tests positive, an option would be given to get treated in Goa itself or return to their home state. As per a list of guidelines issued by the state government, all incoming passengers will be required to undergo thermal screening upon entering.
Apart from the general guidelines by the centre, Gujarat only requires passengers arriving in Surat to fill a self-declaration form, available on the city’s website, before entering the city. Additionally, a tweet by Rajkot Airport also mandates that international arrivals to the state have to undergo a 14 day quarantine, divided equally between home and institutional.
Only the guidelines issued by the MoHFW have to be followed, and no additional protocols have been issued by the state government yet.
A release by the state’s National Health Mission, passengers require a pass to enter the state, and if found to be asymptomatic and visiting for a short duration (less than 48 hours), would be exempted from quarantine. However, all inter-state travellers have to mandatorily undergo a 14-day quarantine, which could be extended upon assessment. An additional 14-day surveillance period is also mandatory. If any influenza or flu-like symptoms are found, the District Surveillance Officer must be informed. Institutional quarantine is a must for passengers arriving from high-incidence areas (Mumbai, parts of Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Thane, Pune, Kolkata, and more), and shall be tested a week after arriving. If tested negative, they will be sent home for further home quarantine with daily surveillance.
Jammu and Kashmir
According to a tweet by the state’s Department of Information and Public Relations, inbound travellers to the state have to mandatorily undergo a COVID test, irrespective of the mode of entry. Those who test negative will be required to undertake a 14-day home quarantine—provided they have a valid mobile number with the Aarogya Setu app downloaded— whereas those who test positive will be treated at COVID hospitals. In case they travellers don’t have a valid number with the app, they will be institutionally quarantined till a negative report is obtained. However, travellers entering Lakhanpur by road will be institutionally quarantined for 14 days. Business travellers with a confirmed return air ticket, hotel reservation, and a business ID, will also be required to undergo tests on arrival. Currently, pregnant women, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, chronically ill patients, mothers with infants below age one, children travelling solo below age 10, business travellers up to four days, government personnel, and ambulances (returning within 36 hours of leaving the UT) are exempt from mandatory quarantine.
A 14-day home-quarantine has been made mandatory for passengers arriving at Jharkhand states a report by The Hindustan Times. To ensure this, Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi has been requested to maintain a list of the arriving passengers along with details, which must be shared with the state transport department.
A release issued by the state’s Department of Health & Family Welfare has made it mandatory to self-register on Seva Sindhu Portal before entering, irrespective of whether they are transit passengers. While symptomatic passengers have to compulsorily stay in isolated wards of hospitals, others have to observe a 14-day home quarantine. A tweet by MoCA states that asymptomatic passengers arriving from Maharashtra – will be mandatorily quarantined institutionally for seven days followed by a 14-day home quarantine. It further states that any other passenger will be required to home-quarantine for 14 days. However, special category asymptomatic persons are exempted. Business travellers arriving for less than 48 hours with a confirmed return ticket will not be quarantined or tested either. Those staying longer than 48 hours but less than a week will have to undertake the COVID-19 test or present a negative ICMR report taken in less than 48 hours prior to the arrival.
Travellers arriving in Kerala need to register themselves on the covid19jagratha portal and obtain an e-pass, states an advisory by the Kerala Government. A 14-day home quarantine is a must for passengers arriving for a long stay. On the other hand, those visiting for seven days or less are exempted. The advisory further states that students who visit the state for exams or academic-related purposes can stay for a period of three days before the start of the exam and three days after the exam is over.
A tweet by Airports Authority of India mandates a seven day home quarantine, as well valid contact details of their stay in Leh. Those staying for less than five days are exempt from quarantine, provided they have a negative COVID-19 report not more than 48 hours prior to arrival.
According to a MoCA, thermal screening and health profiling will be done for all incoming passengers. However, COVID-19 tests and institutional quarantine is reserved for symptomatic passengers. If tests are found positive, then the passenger will be shifted to COVID Care Facilities where a retest followed by home quarantine will be mandated, depending upon mandates by competent authorities. If tested negative, however, no institutional or home quarantine will be required.
Asymptomatic passengers arriving in Manipur will have to undertake a 14-day home quarantine as per a report by The Indian Express. Symptomatic passengers, on the other hand, will be shifted and sent to isolation wards for treatment. Additionally, all people entering the state have to install the QuarMon App on their phone, wherein those who are home quarantined have to upload a selfie every two hours, apart from following the guidelines on the app.
As per a tweet by Airports Authority of India, a 14-day home quarantine has been made mandatory for people entering Aurangabad, Pune, Jalgaon, and Nagpur. People arriving for a short duration—including to Mumbai—with a confirmed return ticket, however, are exempted. People entering Kolhapur are exempt from all forms of quarantine, states the same tweet. In Mumbai, an equal division of quarantine is applicable for all international arrivals to the megacity. Exemptions, in this case, have to be applied for prior to the arrival stating a valid reason.
Stranded citizens wishing to return to Meghalaya have to submit a self-declaration form before entering the state, according to a release by the Government of Meghalaya. A report by UNI states that those entering the Meghalaya have to undergo temperature screenings, rapid tests, and RT PCR if they’re entering from a high-risk zone. Moreover, 48 hours institutional quarantine is compulsory for all arrivals, states a tweet by MoCA.
Apart from the central government guidelines, people entering Mizoram must obtain an e-pass from the state’s COVID-19 dedicated website. A tweet by MoCA mandates a 21 day institutional quarantine for 21 days. Those clearing rapid antibody tests, as per a report by The Hindu, are allowed to practice home quarantine for 21 days.
As per a release on the state’s Department of Information and Public Relations’ website, all people entering Nagaland will have to mandatorily undertake 14-days of institutional quarantine, followed by 14-days of home-quarantine. Elderly above the age of 60, children below the age of 10, and pregnant women will be screened and sent to home-quarantine for 28 days.
Those entering Odisha from outside the state will have to obtain an e-pass as per Odisha’s dedicated COVID-19 portal. Should you wish to enter the state by road, the vehicle must be registered and a dedicated travel pass should be obtained before undertaking the journey. As per MoCA, however, a 14-day quarantine is mandatory for anyone entering the urban areas of the eastern state, while those heading to the rural areas and are asymptomatic have to quarantine for seven days institutionally and seven at home.
A release issued by the state makes it mandatory for international passengers to handover self-declaration form to state officials and stay at institutional quarantine centres for a minimum of seven days, post which – upon testing negative – they will have to undertake another seven days of home quarantine. Positive or symptomatic domestic travellers will be moved to health centres, whereas those tested negative or asymptomatic will have to practice home-quarantine for 14 days and submit an undertaking of the same. Frequent interstate travellers, such as MP, MLAs, journalists, transporters, doctors, traders, etc. are exempt from all forms of quarantine but will have to obtain a pass from deputy commissioners. As per another release by the state, those who report to be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic after testing will be allowed to home isolate, should they fit into the various eligibility guidelines. The isolation will be considered over after 17 days, provided no fever has been reported for 10 days.
As per a tweet by ANI, the Government of Rajasthan issued a set of guidelines detailing the various measures one needs to take before embarking on an inter-state trip to this state. Those coming in by domestic flights, trains, or buses will be required to mandatorily screened upon arrival, whereas those coming by road will have to show their personal IDs as well. Intrastate travellers to Rajasthan are required to mandatorily home quarantine for 14 days, according to MoCA.
A release by the Tamil Nadu government makes it compulsory for all passengers to obtain a TNepass, available on their pass online portal. Those entering from Gujarat, Delhi, and Maharashtra will be tested irrespective of symptoms and home-quarantined for 14 days, while only symptomatic passengers from other states will be tested, and home-quarantined for 14 days only upon displaying symptoms. Passengers from any other state have to home quarantine for 14 days states a tweet by MoCA. Another tweet by Airports Authority of India mandates a 14-day home quarantine for international arrivals.
According to a report by IndiaTV News, asymptomatic passengers arriving in the state are exempt from quarantine, and only need to self-monitor their health for 14 days. Those showing symptoms, however, will be quarantined and observed. Additionally, MoCA states that all international arrivals will be institutionally quarantined for seven days.
As per MoCA, the state government will compulsorily test and thermally screen all arriving passengers. All passengers with a foreign travel history of less than 28 days will be institutionally quarantined till negative test reports are obtained, whereas all other arrivals will be made to home quarantine for 14 days with an advice to self-monitor health.
As per a tweet by Airports Authority of India, the Uttarakhand government has mandated registering on the state website before entering. Passengers incoming from high load COVID-19 infected cities – irrespective of the mode of travel – will have to undergo a period of 7-days institutional quarantine, followed by a 14-day home quarantine. Additionally, quarantine rules for asymptomatic passengers will be decided on a case to case basis. Business travellers entering the state for a period less than seven days are exempt, adds the tweet. Moreover, those with a negative COVID-19 test report not more than 96 hours prior to arrival are exempted too.
A report by The Times of India suggests that all domestic passengers returning to Uttar Pradesh will have to observe a 14-day home quarantine, while those visiting for official purposes will be exempted. Those arriving by air have to register themselves online, post which they would be allowed to exit the airport grounds. Short duration visitors (visiting for less than seven days) are exempt from quarantine. International travellers, according to MoCA, are required to split their 14-day quarantine equally between institutional and home.
According to MoCA, a declaration form must be submitted on the Sandhane App prior to arrival. While asymptomatic passengers have to home quarantine for four days, the course of action for symptomatic passengers will be undertaken on a case to case basis.