India drops Covid test requirement

India drops Covid test requirement

Mandatory PCR tests for people coming from Thailand believed to have reduced Indian tourist numbers

A woman walks past a billboard with a Covid-19 awareness message at Anna International Airport in Chennai, India. (Photo: AFP)
A woman walks past a billboard with a Covid-19 awareness message at Anna International Airport in Chennai, India. (Photo: AFP)

NEW DELHI: India will drop the pre-departure Covid test requirement for travellers coming from or via Thailand, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand and Japan from Monday, the health ministry said, as Covid-19 infections have fallen sharply globally.

The random testing of 2% of all travellers landing in India will continue, the health ministry wrote in the letter dated Feb 9 to the the civil aviation ministry.

Delhi introduced the requirement on Jan 1 after China abandoned its zero-Covid policy and infections began to surge in that country. Travellers were asked to upload proof of a negative test taken no more than 72 hours before departure for India to a government website.

The testing requirement caused a number of Indian tourists to postpone or cancel trips to Thailand, hoteliers in Pattaya said last month.

India was the country’s second-largest source of tourists last year, with nearly 925,000 arrivals. Malaysia led all countries with 1.8 million visitors, according to Immigration Bureau data.

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