People travelling from Thailand to India will have to produce a negative Covid-19 test result starting from Jan 1, India’s health minister confirmed on Thursday.
Thailand is one of five countries singled out, along with China (including Hong Kong), Japan, South Korea and Singapore.
Travellers from these countries will have to upload their test reports to the government’s Air Suvidha website before their departure, minister Mansukh Mandaviya wrote on Twitter.
“This is being done in view of the evolving Covid-19 situation across the world, particularly in the aforesaid countries,” the health ministry said in a statement, adding that the test should be taken within 72 hours of travel to India.
The new requirement for a Covid test would be in addition to the random tests now being done on 2% of all international passengers arriving in India.
The requirement is already causing some Indians, who make up a significant number of visitors to Thailand, to rethink their travel plans, the Times of India reported this week.
“Thailand is a major destination and we may see a change of plans to avoid testing on return,” the newspaper quoted Anil Kalsi, joint secretary of the Travel Agents Federation of India, as saying.
India joins the United States, Japan, Italy and Taiwan in imposing mandatory Covid tests for travellers from China, amid a Covid surge there after authorities relaxed strict “zero-Covid” rules.
Top health officials from the European Union were holding talks on Thursday to try to coordinate very different views on how to respond to China’s decision to lift its Covid-19 restrictions amid a wave of infections there.
The head of France’s health risks committee said on Thursday that she saw no need for the country to impose border controls.
“From a scientific point of view, there is no reason to bring back controls at the border … but that could change any day,” said Brigitte Autran, head of the French health risk assessment committee Covars.
“The variants circulating in China are all Omicron variants, which have circulated in France and against which we have acquired immunity.”