India resumes mandatory PCR testing for arrivals from China, Japan

NEW DELHI, 24 Dec 2022:

Indian health authorities today announced that passengers arriving from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand would be subjected to a mandatory PCR test on arrival in the country, amid a Covid19 surge in some Asian countries.

Testing of “passengers coming from abroad including China, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Japan, South Korea has been started at Delhi International Airport today,” Indian health minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted.

He added that the passengers showing symptoms indicative of the virus or testing positive will be quarantined.

The measure comes after authorities on Thursday ordered random testing of 2% of the international travellers entering India, in an attempt to strengthen monitoring and prevent a rise in infection.

Although India, with a population of around 1.4 billion, has registered less than 200 daily Covid cases in recent days, a surge of the disease in neighbouring China and other nearby countries has put the authorities on alert, especially over the possible entry of new variants.

The South Asian nation has been one of the worst affected by the pandemic, with over 44.6 million cases and 530,680 deaths documented so far, although international bodies such as World Health Organisation have estimated the real death toll could have been as high as 4.7 million.

The second coronavirus wave to hit India was especially virulent and resulted in daily case loads of over 35,000 and more than 3,700 daily deaths at its peak in May 2021, triggering a chronic oxygen shortage in the hospitals.