More relaxations on international travel expected from next month

More relaxations on international travel expected from next month

The revised list of guidelines for surveillance, containment, and caution for Covid-19 by the Ministry of Home Affairs for the next one month, starting from February 1, 2021, has removed many restrictions imposed on various activities including air, rail, and other modes of travel, exhibition, conferences, and social functions, education and entertainment.

The MHA guidelines for the month of February allow more relaxations on international air travel which the administrative, the Ministry of Civil Aviation can work out in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs based on the current safety situation. With this, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is expected to reopen new routes under the bilateral air bubble agreement with more countries.

Similarly, the government has also relaxed restrictions on exhibitions, social, religious, and other events. When the restrictions on B2B exhibitions had been relaxed a couple of months ago, and now, as per the new guidelines, the government has allowed all sorts of exhibitions to start with the right SOPs and guidelines. The Ministry of Commerce & Industry has been asked to formulate revised SOPs for this.

Social, religious, sports, entertainment, educational, cultural, and religious gatherings have been permitted up to a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity, with a ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces; and keeping of the size of the ground/ space in the view, now such gatherings will be allowed, subject to SOP of the state/ UT concerned.

Cinema halls and theatres have already been permitted up to 50% of seating capacity. Now they will be permitted to operate at higher seating capacity, for which a revised SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in consultation with MHA.

Swimming pools had already been permitted for use of sportspeople. Now, swimming pools will be permitted for use by all, for which a revised SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MoYA&S) in consultation with MHA.

As far as interstate and intrastate travel is concerned, the MHA guidelines once again emphasized that there shall be no restriction on such movement of persons and goods including those for cross land-border trade under treaties with neighboring countries.

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