How To Move Out Of Mumbai During A Pandemic

The latest advisory from the Indian government for international travel requires travellers to quarantine for seven days. Moreover, every traveller is required to take an RT-PCR test on the eight-day of entering India. If the test is negative, the travellers are free to go anywhere in India. However, in case of a positive COVID19 test, the individuals will be transported to an isolation facility. Despite such circumstances, global citizens are undaunted when it comes to travelling and moving homes. If you’re wondering how to move out of Mumbai during a Pandemic, we’ve got you covered.

It is mandatory for travellers to upload a self-declaration form for COVID19 on the Air Suvidha portal before their scheduled flight. Additionally, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare requires a test report taken 72 hours before the journey.

Travellers entering India from high-risk countries will need to take a COVID19 test upon arrival. This test will be charged to the travellers. Moreover, once the test is taken, they will wait for the results before exiting the airport and entering the country. In case of a negative test report, they will be allowed to leave the airport or board the connecting flight.

Domestic flights in India

The national flights are operational within India with added COVID19 protocols. Since the pandemic, the number of international flights has reduced, leaving the options for national flights open for all Indians. Airlines are required to follow all the government protocols rigidly. They also have the right to allow or disallow individuals from boarding the flight.

A fine of ₹2000 is applicable to those who violate the rule of not wearing a mask in public places. Travellers are required to wear a mask at all times during the flight. The amount of penalty varies from one state to another.

Mumbai travel restrictions

The COVID19 travel restrictions at the Mumbai airport are similar to those in the rest of India. Although the restrictions for those entering are rigid, those moving out of Mumbai have to follow the rules of their destination country or city.

At the Mumbai Airport, COVID19 testing facilities allow passengers entering and exiting the city to take the test conveniently. The facility is located opposite Departure Gate 7 in terminal two. All travellers must keep in mind that the test results are released after 8-10 hours at this facility.

However, for the travellers’ convenience, the test report is sent through email. The facility requires that the test taker show a valid identification like the Aadhar Card and Passport to take the test. The travellers have to pay an amount of ₹500, and the Indian government fixes this rate. Payment through cash or card is acceptable by this facility.

Travellers who test negative for the virus will be allowed to continue their journey. However, those who test positive will be required to quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility. The charge for the rapid RT-PCR test at the Mumbai Airport is INR 1975. The results for this test are available within two hours.

Necessary quarantine orders

The current requirements for fully vaccinated travellers have relaxed and come into effect on February 14, 2022. Those travelling from the US, UK and 82 other countries will no longer be required to quarantine or take the COVI19 test on arrival.

The classification of “at-risk” countries have also been relaxed under the latest travel guidelines in India. According to the guidelines published by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, travellers from these 82 countries do not have to quarantine.

Since the second wave of the virus swamped up India, it became number one on the red list of high-risk countries. After a tiring battle against the virus, India was finally able to get a large number of its population vaccinated. Individuals travelling out of Mumbai and other parts of India are now required to take an on-arrival PCR test. If tested positive, they have to quarantine for seven days and take a test again on the eight-day.

Children under five are exempted from taking both pre-arrival and post-arrival COVID tests. The vice president of the Travel Agents Association of IndiaJay Bhatia, says that the relaxation of travel restrictions is a boost for the tourism industry. He further adds that the travellers who are fully vaccinated are safe for both entry and exit from Mumbai.

The lockdown resulted in individuals being stuck at home for over two years. The laxer travel restrictions and easing the rules provide hope for international travel for everyone worldwide. This brings back normalcy into the lives of Indians after the second wave was devastating.

Developments in quarantine rules

The consulting CEO of FAITH, Aashish Gupta, believes that these developments are encouraging for the tourism sectors around the world. FAITH is a representative body of the Indian Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Association. Mr Gupta further adds that the resumption of scheduled international flights will mean resuming multiple-entry tourist visas for all source markets in the world.

The current situation in India for commercial international flights are suspended until February 29, 2022. This date extends this restriction time to 23 months. However, the curtailed flight operations are running. Additionally, the 35 countries holding bilateral air bubble arrangements have operational flights to and from India.

The good news is that many countries around the world will be easing travel restrictions this month, which will open the world for Indians from Mumbai International Airport. The United Kingdom, for example, is eradicating all testing and quarantine requirements for international vaccinated travellers from February 11. On the other hand, Australia had the highest strict rules for entry into the country but is now opening its borders on February 21. New Zealand is starting its five-stage reopening of borders on February 27.

These developments provide a ray of hope for the world to reconnect and get back to happier and healthier days. Moving out of Mumbai during a pandemic is becoming easier than it was possible in the last two years.

What to prepare

The current situation of COVID19 in India has improved after the second wave nearly broke the healthcare system in India. With hospitals full and scarce medication and oxygen supply, India struggled to maintain the number of COVID cases in early May of 2021.

However, the vaccination rates have improved since then, and the Our World In Data shows a 7-day rolling average of COVID cases. This data shows the number of cases per million people around October 2021. This number was a shocking 280 in May – the highest in the world at the time.

Current vaccination stats in India

India faces the problem of limited testing and reported cases. Therefore, the exact figures of confirmed cases are lower than the actual numbers in the country. With continuous efforts, India was able to reach a notable vaccine milestone in January 2022. About one billion individuals of the Indian population was vaccinated after the ambitious vaccination targets set nearly a year ago.

Even after such a notable achievement, the Indian population falls under 40 percent of the eligible vaccinated population. This is still far below the set targets, which New Delhi announced at the pandemic’s peak.

The approved vaccines in India include Oxford University’s AstraZeneca and the locally manufactured Covidshield. Other vaccines include Russia’s Sputnik-V and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. Initially, Covishield and Covaxin were not accepted worldwide, but recently the World Health Organization has approved both for emergency use.

The latest development for administering the first-ever vaccination for under 18 individuals. This is a three-dose vaccination shot manufactured locally by Cadila Healthcare.

Vaccine certificate for travel from Mumbai

All international and domestic travellers must have a valid vaccination certificate. The certificate must include the name of one of the approved vaccines, the date of its administration and the number of doses. Depending on the type of vaccine, the certificate must include the number of doses for the individual to be considered fully vaccinated.

In addition to being fully vaccinated, travellers must get the booster dose to tackle the Omicron variant. Details of the booster shot should also be mentioned on the vaccine certificate. Apart from this very important document, individuals need passports and valid identification cards.

The new requirements by all countries for travellers include a valid PCR test taken within 72 hours before the scheduled departure of the flight. While some countries accept a PCR test, others require a Rapid RT-PCR test done at the airport of departure.

Both facilities are available at the Mumbai airport, and travellers can complete their relevant tests as directed by their destination country. The fee for both types of tests differs and must be paid by the travellers themselves.

Operational airlines out of Mumbai

Flying of the passenger plane above the sea surface at sunset time.

Since the relaxation of travel restrictions in India and worldwide, the following airlines are now fully operational from the Mumbai International Airport.

AirlineNumber of Destinations
IndiGo Airlines (6E)57
Air India (AI)44
Spicejet (SG)41
Go Air (G8)28
Vistara (UK)17
AirAsia India (I5)7
Air-India Express (IX)5
Alliance Air (9I)3
Saudi Arabian (SV)3

Travelling from Mumbai during a pandemic seemed impossible in the last 23 months. The travel restrictions seemed endless, with no hope of reuniting with family and loved ones. However, as the world tackles the deadly virus slowly but surely, the world is opening again. The time is close when travelling will once again become fun and hassle-free.

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