Coronavirus: Update on COVID-19, Guidelines from Dec 2021

Coronavirus covid-19 latest updates from the entire world. Lockdown and international arrivals guidelines. Total Confirmed cases in India, Cured/ Discharged/ Migrated and death.

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India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 122.41 Cr (1,22,41,68,929) as per provisional reports on 29th November, 2021 at 7:00 A.M.

Update 29.11.2021: The recovery of 9,905 patients in the last 24 hours has increased the cumulative tally of recovered patients (since the beginning of the pandemic) to 3,40,08,183. Consequently, India’s recovery rate stands at 98.34%.

  • India’s Active caseload stands at 1,03,859;
  • lowest in 544 days Active cases account for less than 1% of total cases, currently at 0.30%;
  • Lowest since March 2020 Daily positivity rate (1.09%) less than 2% for last 56 days Weekly Positivity Rate (0.85%) less than 1% for last 15 days 64.02 cr Total Tests conducted so far.

Guidelines for International Arrivals

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued guidelines for international arrivals in supersession of all guidelines issued on the subject on and after 11th November 2021.

Introduction

The global trajectory of COVID-19 pandemic continues to decline with certain regional variations. The need to monitor the continuously changing nature of virus and evolution of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) must still remain in focus. The existing guidelines for international arrivals in India have been formulated taking a risk-based approach. The existing guidelines have been revised in view of reporting of a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.1.529; named Omicron) which has been now classified as Variant of Concern by the World Health Organization.

Scope

This document provides protocols to be complied with international travellers as well those to be followed by airlines, points of entry (airports, seaports and land border) for risk profiling of passengers.

This Standard Operating Procedure shall be valid w.e.f. 1st December 2021 (00.01 Hrs IST) till further orders. Based on the risk assessment, this document shall be reviewed from time to time.

A1 Planning for Travel

  • i. All travellers should
    • a. Submit self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal (https://www.newdelhiairport.in/airsuvidha/apho-registration) before the scheduled travel, including last 14 days travel details.
    • b. Upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report*. This test should have been conducted within 72 hrs prior to undertaking the journey.
    • c. Each passenger shall also submit a declaration with respect to authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution, if found otherwise.
  • ii. They should also give an undertaking on the portal or otherwise to Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, through concerned airlines before they are allowed to undertake the journey that they would abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority to undergo home/institutional quarantine/ self-health monitoring, as warranted.
  • iii. Continuing with the earlier approach, travellers from certain specified Countries (based on epidemiological situation of COVID-19 in those Countries) are identified for additional follow up. These include need for additional measures as detailed in para (xv) below. The listing of such specified Countries is a dynamic exercise based on evolving situation of COVID-19 across the world and will be made available on the websites of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare,(mohfw.gov.in) and the link of the same will be available at website of Ministry of External Affairs and Air Suvidha Portal.

A2 Before Boarding

  • iv. Passengers originating or transiting from at-risk countries shall be informed by the airlines that they will undergo post arrival testing, quarantine if tested negative, stringent isolation protocols if tested positive etc. as mentioned in para (xv).
  • v. Do’s and Don’ts shall be provided along with ticket to the travellers by the airlines/agencies concerned.
  • vi. Airlines to allow boarding by only those passengers who have filled in the Self Declaration Form on the Air Suvidha portal, uploaded the negative RT-PCR test report.
  • vii. At the time of boarding the flight, only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board after thermal screening.
  • viii. All passengers shall be advised to download Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices.

A3 During Travel

  • ix. In-flight announcement about COVID-19 including precautionary measures to be followed shall be made at airports and in flights and during transit.
  • x. During in-flight crew shall ensure that COVID appropriate behaviour is followed at all times.
  • xi. If any passenger reports symptoms of COVID-19 during flight, he/she shall be isolated as per protocol.

A4 On arrival

  • xii. De-boarding should be done ensuring physical distancing.
  • xiii. Thermal screening would be carried out in respect of all the passengers by the health officials present at the airport. The self-declaration form filled online shall be shown to the airport health staff.
  • xiv. The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to medical facility as per health protocol. If tested positive, their contacts shall be identified and managed as per laid down protocol#.
  • xv. Travellers from specified Countries at risk [as mentioned in para (iii) above] will follow the protocol as detailed below:
    • Submission of sample for post-arrival COVID-19 test* at the point of arrival (self-paid). Such travellers will be required to wait for their test results at the arrival airport before leaving or taking a connecting flight.
    • If tested negative they will follow, home quarantine for 7 days. Re-test on the 8th day of arrival in India* and if negative, further self-monitor of their health for next 7 days.
    • However, if such travellers are tested positive, their samples should be sent for genomic testing at INSACOG laboratory network.
    • They shall be managed at separate isolation facility and treated as per laid down standard protocol including contact tracing mentioned in para (xiv).
    • The contacts of such positive case should be kept under institutional quarantine or at home quarantine monitored strictly by the concerned State Government as per laid down protocol.
  • xvi. Travellers from Countries excluding those Countries at risk, will be allowed to leave the airport and shall self-monitor their health for 14 days’ post arrival. A sub-section (5% of the total flight passengers) shall undergo post-arrival testing at random at the airport on arrival.
    • a. The 5% of such travellers in each flight shall be identified by the concerned airlines (preferably from different countries).
    • b. Such travellers shall be escorted by the concerned airlines/MoCA to testing area on arrival.
    • c. The cost of testing of such travellers shall be borne by MoCA.
    • d. Laboratories shall prioritize testing of samples from such travellers.
    • e. If such travellers are tested positive, they shall be managed as per laid down standard protocol and samples would further send for genomic testing.
  • xvii. If travellers under home quarantine or self-health monitoring, develop signs and symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19 on re-testing, they will immediately selfisolate and report to their nearest health facility or call National helpline number (1075)/ State Helpline Number.

International travellers arriving at seaports/land ports

  • xviii. International travellers arriving through seaports/land ports will also have to undergo the same protocol as above, except that facility for online registration is not available for such passengers currently.
  • xix. Such travellers shall submit the self-declaration form to the concerned authorities of Government of India at seaports/land ports on arrival.

*Children under 5 years of age are exempted from both pre- and post-arrival testing. However, if found symptomatic for COVID-19 on arrival or during home quarantine period, they shall undergo testing and treated as per laid down protocol.

#Contacts of the suspect case are the co-passengers seated in the same row, 3 rows in front and 3 rows behind along with identified Cabin Crew. Also, all the community contacts of those travellers who have tested positive (during home quarantine period) would be subjected to quarantine for 14 days and tested as per ICMR protocol.

Offences and Penalties for Violation

Any person violating these measure will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of Sections 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under section 188 of the IPC, and other legal provisions as applicable.

A) Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005

Section 51 (Punishment for obstruction, etc.)

Whoever, without reasonable cause –

  • (a) obstructs any officer or employee of the Central Government or the State Government, or a person authorised by the National Authority or State Authority or District Authority in the discharge of his functions under this Act; or
  • (b) refuses to comply with any direction given by or on behalf of the Central Government or the State Government or the National Executive Committee or the State Executive Committee or the District Authority under this Act,

shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both, and if such obstruction or refusal to comply with directions results in loss of lives or imminent danger thereof, shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.

Section 52 (Punishment for false claim)

Whoever knowingly makes a claim which he knows or has reason to believe to be false for obtaining any relief, assistance, repair, reconstruction or other benefits consequent to disaster from any officer of the Central Government, the State Government, the National Authority, the State Authority or the District Authority, shall, on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, and also with fine.

Section 53 (Punishment for misappropriation of money or materials, etc.)

Whoever, being entrusted with any money or materials, or otherwise being, in custody of, or dominion over, any money or goods, meant for providing relief in any threatening disaster situation or disaster, misappropriates or appropriates for his own use or disposes of such money or materials or any part thereof or wilfully compels any other person so to do, shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, and also with fine.

Section 54 (Punishment for false warning)

Whoever makes or circulates a false alarm or warning as to disaster or its severity or magnitude, leading to panic, shall on conviction, be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to one year or with fine.

Section 55 (Offences by Departments of the Government)

(1) Where an offence under this Act has been committed by any Department of the Government, the head of the Department shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly unless he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under this Act has been committed by a Department of the Government and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any officer, other than the head of the Department, such officer shall be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

Section 56 (Failure of officer in duty or his connivance at the contravention of the provisions of this Act)

Any officer, on whom any duty has been imposed by or under this Act and who ceases or refuses to perform or withdraws himself from the duties of his office shall, unless he has obtained the express written permission of his official superior or has other lawful excuse for so doing, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine.

Section 57 (Penalty for contravention of any order regarding requisitioning)

If any person contravenes any order made under section 65, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine or with both.

Section 58 (Offence by companies)

(1) Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company or body corporate, every person who at the time the offence was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company, for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the contravention and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly:

Provided that nothing in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to any punishment provided in this Act, if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company, and it is proved that the offence was committed with the consent or connivance of or is attributable to any neglect on the part of any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also, be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

Explanation: For the purpose of this section-

  • (a) “company” means anybody corporate and includes a firm or other association of individuals; and
  • (b) “director“, in relation to a firm, means a partner in the firm.

Section 59 (Previous sanction for prosecution)

No prosecution for offences punishable under sections 55 and 56 shall be instituted except with the previous sanction of the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be, or of any officer authorised in this behalf, by general or special order, by such Government.

Section 60 (Cognizance of offences)

No court shall take cognizance of an offence under this Act except on a complaint made by-

  • ( a) the National Authority, the State Authority, the Central Government, the State Government, the District Authority or any other authority or officer authorised in this behalf by that Authority or Government, as the case may be; or
  • (b) any person who has given notice of not less than thirty days in the manner prescribed, of the alleged offence and his intention to make a complaint to the National Authority, the State Authority, the Central Government, the State Government, the District Authority or any other authority or officer authorised as aforesaid.

B) Section 188 in the Indian Penal Code, 1860

Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant-Whoever, knowing that, by an order promulgated by a public servant lawfully empowered to promulgate such order, he is directed to abstain from a certain act, or to take certain order with certain property in his possession or under his management, disobeys such direction, shall, if such disobedience causes or tends to cause obstruction, annoyance or injury, or risk of obstruction, annoyance or injury, to any person lawfully employed, be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both; and if such disobedience causes or trends to cause danger to human life, health or safety, or causes or tends to cause a riot or affray, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

Explanation: It is not necessary that the offender should intend to produce harm, or contemplate his disobedience as likely to produce harm. It is sufficient that he knows of the order which he disobeys, and that his disobedience produces, or is likely to produce, harm.

Illustration: An order is promulgated by a public servant lawfully empowered to promulgate such order, directing that a religious procession shall not pass down a certain street. A knowingly disobeys the order, and thereby causes danger of riot. A has committed the offence defined in this section.


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