India makes negative COVID test mandatory for five countries

India has mandated a COVID-19 negative test report for travellers arriving from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand, the federal health minister said.

Passengers from those countries would be put under quarantine if they showed symptoms of COVID-19 or tested positive, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted on Saturday, as he posted photographs of tests being conducted at the international airport in the capital, New Delhi.

India – which has reported the second highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, at 44 million, behind the United States to date – on Saturday also started randomly testing 2 percent of international passengers arriving at its airports for COVID-19.

Mandaviya cited an increase in cases in neighbouring China for the new rules, he told parliament on Thursday.

A few cases of BF.7 – the Omicron subvariant that is driving the current surge in China – have been found in India so far, according to local media reports.

The minister urged state governments to increase surveillance for any new coronavirus variants and send samples of all positive cases to genome sequencing laboratories.