A dip in COVID-19 cases across the country has led to easing of several restrictions. At least seven states and Union Territories (UTs) are now allowing visitors to arrive into their respective jurisdictions via air travel without previously mandated negative RT-PCR test report as long as they are vaccinated. However, these relaxations are subjected to certain conditions.
Which states are allowing vaccinated travellers?
Rajasthan, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Odisha and the Union Territory of Chandigarh have allowed vaccinated travellers to skip negative RT-PCR test reports. Other states are soon expected to follow as a set of national guidelines may soon be issued for vaccinated travellers by the Central government.
What are the stipulated conditions?
Each state has different stipulations. In Rajasthan, only travellers who have been fully vaccinated (two doses) and have had 28 days elapse from the time of administration of the second dose would be exempt from COVID-19 tests.
Punjab and Chandigarh will allow travellers to come without an RT-PCR test as long as they have one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and two weeks have elapsed since the date of vaccination.
Travellers going to Odisha and Nagaland will need to be fully vaccinated in order to be exempted from any RT-PCR tests.
For Meghalaya, the stipulations are the strictest. The North-Eastern state will not grant any COVID-19 test exemptions for any visitor from Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Karnataka and Kerala. Visitors from any other state will need to show a full vaccination certificate when arriving in Meghalaya to be exempt from tests.
Impact on the domestic aviation industry
With states introducing exemptions for vaccinated air passengers, domestic airlines may see an uptick in the number of passengers that they will be servicing. The number of domestic passengers had taken a sharp decline in may to just 19.2 lakh passengers in pay from nearly 58 lakh just a month ago.
While the Central government increased minimum airfare for domestic flights, the maximum occupancy of flight carriers had also been reduced.
Indigo CEO Ronojoy Dutta recently said: “We are hopeful that with the reducing trend in Covid cases and the increased pace of vaccination, passenger confidence and airline traffic will gain further momentum by early July.”
(Edited by : Aditi Gautam)
First Published: IST