The government on Sunday issued a fresh Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) for the return of Indians stranded abroad due to the coronavirus lockdown, saying it will be a paid service and preference will be given to people in distress including those who have lost their jobs and pregnant women.
A similar SOP was also issued by the government for those who are stranded in India and desire to travel abroad.
As per the latest SOP, all travellers will have to give an undertaking that they would undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days. It will be a seven-day paid institutional quarantine at their own cost, followed by seven days of isolation at home with self-monitoring of health.
Only for exceptional and compelling reasons such as cases of human distress, pregnancy, death in family, serious illness and parent(s) accompanied by children below 10 years, as assessed by the receiving states, home quarantine may be permitted for 14 days and use of ‘Aarogya Setu’ app shall be mandatory in such cases, it said.
According to the SOP issued earlier by the MHA on May 5, the institutional quarantine period was 14 days and another 14 days was for home quarantine while ‘Aarogya Setu’ app was mandatory for all international arrivals.The fresh SOP said that the states and UTs can also develop their own protocol.
Priority will be given to compelling cases in distress, including migrant workers, labourers who have been laid off, short-term visa-holders facing expiry of visas, persons with medical emergency, pregnant women, elderly, those required to return to India due to death of family member, and students, the SOP said.