New Delhi: Now mandatory pre-departure RT-PCR testing has been introduced for passengers arriving in India on all international flights from China, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand and Japan. The test has to be conducted within 72 hrs prior to undertaking the journey, said the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in a press release issued on January 2, 2023.

The ministry release issued by Lav Agarwal, additional secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said the ministry has decided to revise and update its existing guidelines for International arrivals in view of the rising COVID cases in the above-mentioned countries.

The press release addressed to Rajiv Bansal, Secretary of Civil Aviation, said that the new guidelines will also apply to passengers transitioning through the countries irrespective of their originating countries before coming to any Indian Airport.

The release said that the Ministry of Civil Aviation's Air Suvidha Portal has to be made operational for passengers in all international flights from these countries, with a provision to allow international travellers arriving in India to submit negative RT-PCR test reports as well as to submit self-declaration form on this portal.

The Ministry through the release said that the agreement will be in practice with effect from 10 am on Sunday, January 1, 2023, and that the existing post-arrival random testing of two per cent of travellers (irrespective of the port of departure) shall continue.

India recorded 173 new COVID cases in the last 24 hours, according to Union Health Ministry data. With the new cases, the number of active cases in India now stands at 2,670.

In the country, 207 people also recovered from the disease in the last 24 hours taking the total recoveries to 4,41,45,445 with a recovery rate of 98.8 per cent.

92,955 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, according to Health ministry data.

Amid a record increase in COVID infections in China, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently, announced that the US would require a negative COVID test from all travellers arriving in the country from China as well as those from Hong Kong and Macau, reported ABC News.

"CDC is announcing this step to slow the spread of COVID in the United States during the surge in COVID cases in the People's Republic of China given the lack of adequate and transparent epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data being reported from the PRC," the CDC said in a statement.

The CDC said that starting from January 5, the United States would require international travellers coming from China to test negative for COVID before entering the country. (ANI)