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Govt relaxes COVID curbs on international travel; changes aimed at helping students from Ukraine

The statistics shared by the Ukraine government suggest that there are a little over 18,000 Indian students there and there are estimates that majority of them are enrolled in various universities to study medicine.

February 28, 2022 / 03:43 PM IST
The first batch of Indians returning on an Air India evacuation flight on February 26. (Image: Twitter/S Jaishankar)

The first batch of Indians returning on an Air India evacuation flight on February 26. (Image: Twitter/S Jaishankar)

The Union health ministry, on February 28, revised the international travel advisory, imposed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, to provide various exemptions to travellers from abroad to aid the evacuation of Indian students from the war-hit Ukraine.

Under the revised guidelines, mandatory pre-boarding negative RTPCR test and COVID-19 vaccination certificate are not required to be uploaded on the Air-Suvidha portal by Indian nationals heading home now.

The government said that individuals who have completed their COVID-19 vaccination, irrespective of the country of departure or vaccination, are being allowed to leave the arrival airport in India with the advice to self-monitor their health for the next 14 days.

However, such travellers will need to submit their samples for COVID-19 testing on arrival.

The latest advisory comes following a request by the Ministry of External Affairs on February 25.

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As on February 28, as many as 1,156 Indians, mostly students pursuing MBBS course, from Ukraine have arrived in the country and the ministry said that none of the passengers have been kept in isolation.

A statement by the ministry said that large diasporas of Indian nationals, mainly students, have found themselves embroiled in the political turmoil in Ukraine and added that their direct evacuation through flights could not be carried out in view of the Notice to Airmen or Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) issued in Ukraine.

Accordingly, Indian missions in Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary have been making arrangements to get Indian nationals from Ukraine and fly them out of their respective countries under Operation Ganga flights, it said.

Until February 28 noon, five flights—one in Mumbai and four in Delhi—carrying Indians from Ukraine have arrived.



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Sumi Sukanya Dutta
first published: Feb 28, 2022 02:39 pm
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