As India recovers from its second wave of COVID-19, states have begun easing domestic testing requirements. Vaccinated travelers can now enter several states without testing or quarantine, a boost for airlines and tourism. Here’s where fully vaccinated passengers can travel in India without a negative test.

Indian Airlines
Airlines have long been requesting exemptions from RT-PCR testing for fully vaccinated individuals. Photo: Getty Images

Reopening

Traveling domestically in India can prove to be a quite a task depending on your destination. States like Maharashtra (home to Mumbai) required passengers to bring a negative test report taken in the last 48 hours, while Assam requires a pre-departure test and one on arrival as well. These strict rules apply to all passengers, even those who may be fully vaccinated.

However, as the second wave of COVID-19 slowly recedes, states have begun loosening restrictions for fully vaccinated passengers. Mumbai announced yesterday that vaccinated passengers arriving domestically no longer need to bring a negative test. Proof of vaccination is available on a digital certificate from CoWin or on the Aarogya Setu app.

Mumbai Airport UK Travelers Quarantine
Day trips from Mumbai will once again be possible for those fully vaccinated. Photo: Getty Images

The decision will be a huge boost to airlines, which have long wanted less stringent testing rules across India. While the central government is considering a proposal to remove all testing requirements for vaccinated individuals, states have the right to set their own entry conditions. However, Maharashtra isn’t the only state making travel easier.

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Maharashtra is only the most recent state to remove testing requirements. Rajasthan allows fully vaccinated travelers (at least 28 days from second dose) to skip RT-PCR testing. Chandigarh is even more liberal, allowing those having taken one dose (at least 14 days in advance) of the vaccine to avoid mandatory testing. Travelers to Chhattisgarh can travel test-free with their fully vaccinated certificate.

Meanwhile, New Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh do not require testing for arrivals from any domestic city. Assam is allowing fully vaccinated travelers to avoid on-arrival testing but still requires a pre-departure test. However, rules vary by city for several states, making it extremely important to check the requirements before flying.

IndiGo A320neo
States removing testing requirements have seen a flood of tourists in recent weeks. Photo: Getty Images

For instance, Karnataka (home to Bangalore) does not require testing for travelers from any state except those from Maharashtra and Kerala. Bihar allows passengers to enter Patna and Gaya test-free but requires testing for arrival in Darbhanga. The lack of uniformity is clearly hurting the tourism industry, as passengers look to easier entry destinations instead.

New issue

While states are looking to slowly lift restrictions, this has led to another problem: too many tourists. In recent weeks, concerns have been raised about the thousands of Indians flocking to hill stations in Himachal Pradesh every day after months of being stuck at home. As noted earlier, Himachal Pradesh recently removed testing for all domestic arrivals.

The increasing number of tourists has meant violations of social distancing rules and the risk of larger outbreaks. This has led even Prime Minister Modi to intervene, calling on everyone to follow the rules. For now, governments are trying hard to open up their states and maintain health requirements at the same time.

What do you think about state’s removing testing requirements? Should they hold on to them longer? Let us know in the comments!

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