The government on Thursday said that two per cent of passengers arriving on each international flight will be subject to random coronavirus tests from December 24.

The union health ministry has written to the civil aviation ministry in this regard amid an increase in coronavirus cases in many countries. Following random testing, if anybody is found Covid-positive, the sample will be sent for genomic testing at the designated INSACOG laboratory network, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote in a letter to his civil aviation ministry counterpart Rajiv Bansal.

After submitting samples for random testing, travellers will be allowed to leave the airport. However, globally the number of new cases of Covid-19 continues to remain alarmingly high, with around 5.9 lakh daily new cases reported on average during the week ending on December 19, 2022.

These post-arrival protocols were also issued by the health ministry separately in its Guidelines for International Arrivals in supersession of guidelines issued on the subject on November 21 2022. According to the guidelines, all travellers should preferably be fully vaccinated as per the approved primary schedule of vaccination against Covid-19 in their country. In-flight announcements about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic including precautionary measures to be followed (preferable use of masks and following physical distancing) shall be made in flights/travel and at all points of entry.