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Air Suvidha portal for international fliers: How to avail service to skip institutional quarantine

 Air Suvidha portal is offering a contactless service to international fliers who have a connecting flight from Delhi to other states. While the protocol for institutional quarantine of international passengers varies from state to state, all international passengers arriving in India can use the Air Suvidha portal to fill self-declaration and exemption forms. Those who are exempted can skip institutional quarantine and head home.

Covid-19 testing centre will soon come up at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi to test people and waive institutional quarantine for patients with connecting flights.

What services does Air Suvidha provide to those who wish to skip institutional quarantine? 

While some state protocols mandate seven days of institutional quarantine plus seven days of home quarantine for international passengers, others require them to be institutionally quarantined for 10 or 14 days. Some also allow asymptomatic passengers to skip the institutional quarantine and undergo 14-day home quarantine.

Now institutional quarantine is mandatory isolation in a hotel – the expenses of which are borne by the passenger – or at a government facility at no charge. After several complaints from passengers regarding the high costs at these hotels, the government rolled out the plan to facilitate smoother journey for international passengers.

What forms need to be filled on the portal?

Air Suvidha is touted as a contactless solution for international passengers travelling to India. It comprises two forms; a self-declaration form where passengers fill in basic details and information about recent travel history, and an exemption form that, if approved, will exempt the passenger from institutional quarantine. All international passengers need to fill in the self-declaration forms on the portal. Previously, it would be filled at the airport prior to departure. This step was taken to do away with the unnecessary physical contact.

Who can apply for exemption?

Even though the portal is available on the Delhi airport website, the facility is available to international passengers travelling to any Indian state. Those who are travelling to Karnataka, Odisha and Kerala do not need exemption as the state protocols dictate that asymptomatic passengers (even transfer passengers) have to undergo 14-day home quarantine.

Only certain passengers can apply for exemption. They include people who have a Covid-19 negative RT PCR test report, pregnant women, those who have suffered a death in the family, those suffering from a serious illness and parents accompanied by children below the age of 10.

These passengers can apply for exemption by providing documents such as a copy of passport along with a medical certificate (in case of serious illness or pregnancy) or RT PCR test results.

The RT PCR test needs to be taken 96 hours prior to departure from the port of origin. The form can be filled 72 hours before departure. In case the test results take longer, the passenger can attach a proof of the test and then show the negative test results upon arrival. By mid-September, a lab where international travellers who either have or want to book connecting flights, will also be set up. Travellers have been told to book flights after a gap of 7-8 hours as they will have to wait for test reports.

What to expect after applying?

After applying on the portal, self reporting forms are forwarded to the Airport Health Organisation (APHO). The passenger can expect a document in their email.

Exemption forms on the other hand, are routed to the respective state authorities, who will either accept or reject the application. These forms are approved by the final destination state. For instance, in the case of a passenger arriving at Delhi but heading to Noida, the application will be forwarded to the UP government.

In case, the application is rejected, the passenger has to undergo institutional quarantine as per state norms. Transfer passengers who have been exempted can continue their journey.