People who plan to travel to India from Oman in the coming days need to get tested for COVID before boarding their planes, if they have not already been fully vaccinated against the disease.

Passengers need to either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or present a negative PCR test at the time of boarding the flight. A passenger who fails to provide either of these two pieces of documentation faces the risk of being turned back at airport check-in desks.

“We have heard many instances of passengers who book flights with us being turned back from the airports, because they did not test their children for COVID-19 ahead of flying to their destination,” said Venkat Perumal, sales manager for Go First, a low-cost Indian airline.

“This is because the Indian government is very strict when it comes to ensuring COVID protocols among passengers,” he added.

“Let us not forget that it was not long ago that the world was taking a lot of precautions to stop the spread of the virus, and only recently have we seen a return to international travel and relaxation of many of the preventive measures that had been adopted by countries around the globe.

“We do get passengers who ask the check-in staff to let them off, because they have paid a lot of money for their tickets, and getting them rebooked is an expensive ordeal,” added Perumal.

“It is therefore better that parents either get their children vaccinated, or get a COVID test done, the costs of which are far less than the amount shelled out for flight tickets.”

This documentation must be uploaded on the Air Suvidha platform, the Indian government’s pre-traveller registration form, along with other details, including their permanent address in India, ports of arrival and departure and contact information.

Furthermore, while wearing a mask at Oman’s airports is not mandatory, all passengers on board flights to India must be masked. Venkat Perumal added that people who do not have masks are being provided them by the airline once they are on board.

“There is currently high demand for flights to India because the school summer vacations are upon us,” said a travel agent in Oman.

“This is the time when most people from the Indian subcontinent travel to their home countries to see their families. We have personally not heard of any of our clients being turned back at the airport, but it is advised that they get tested or protected against COVID,” he added.

Travel guidelines issued by India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare state that all passengers must upload on Air Suvidha platform either a negative COVID-19 PCR report that must have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey, or a certificate of completion of the full primary vaccination schedule for COVID-19.

Passengers are also required to submit a declaration that states that their data is authentic, and those who are found submitting questionable documentation will be liable to criminal prosecution. Airlines will allow boarding of passengers who comply with the above protocols.

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