India to test 2% of international arrivals at random

Taj Mahal, India

Visitors will be tested at airports – and at the Taj Mahal

India’s health minister Mansukh Mandaviya has said that 2% of international passengers will now be tested on arrival at the country’s airports in a bid to monitor and control the ongoing spread of Covid-19.

Addressing India’s parliament, Mandaviya said: “The global pandemic is not yet over. The virus is changing its face from time to time.”

With a dense population and festive gatherings expected around the New Year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reminded citizens of the importance of wearing masks in crowded areas and sanitising hands. Mask-wearing has not been compulsory in most parts India for many months, but ministers were seen wearing masks while attending parliament this week.

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Following meetings, India’s government officials have stepped up surveillance for new Covid variants, and according to reports in Asian News International (ANI), the thousands of daily visitors to the Taj Mahal will now be required to undergo a Covid-19 test before entry.

With more than 44 million Covid-19 cases to date, India has reported the most in the world behind America. It currently has 3,402 active cases and is recording an average daily increase of 153.

During the height of the pandemic, in March 2020, India’s e-visa scheme, valid for travellers from 164 countries, was stopped but was restored for visitors from 156 countries in 2021.

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