Domestic air travel likely to get easier for fully vaccinated

Ministry mulls dropping need for negative RT-PCR tests

The Ministry of Civil Aviation is “examining” a proposal to dispense with the need for a negative RT- PCR test report for fully vaccinated passengers for domestic air travel, a senior government official said.

He added that the proposal to exempt passengers who have received both doses of vaccines is yet to be discussed with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Differing norms

Norms for incoming passengers vary from one State or Union Territory to another. While States like Odisha, Punjab and Rajasthan require all incoming passengers to have a negative RT-PCR test, others like Delhi and Maharashtra have this requirement only for passengers from selected States. Some States want a report not earlier than 48 hours, while others accept reports upto 72 hours before travel.

“It is a welcome move which will boost travel confidence and help ease any anxiety surrounding travel in the current environment. The decision will also inspire more people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, encouraging safe and free movement for all domestic travellers,” travel booking portal ixigo’ s CEO, Aloke Bajpai said.

So far, only 4.49 crore Indian citizens have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and 18.55 crore have received a single dose.

The idea is inspired from “vaccine passports”, which is a documentation proving that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and will allow people to enter a country more easily. While it is exploring the concept for travel within the country, the Indian government, however, firmly opposed the adoption of COVID-19 vaccine passports at the G7 meeting of health ministers last week on the grounds that it was “hugely discriminatory” against developing countries that have lower rates of vaccination.

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