India opened chartered flights to foreign tourists fully vaccinated on Friday, in response to declining coronavirus numbers.
Starting Nov. 15, foreign tourists flying on regular flights can enter India.
This is the first time that India has permitted foreign tourists to enter since March 2020, when it instituted its first nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
Although it is not clear if tourists arriving from abroad will be required to quarantine, they should still be fully vaccinated within 72 hours and have tested negative for the virus.
India’s home ministry announced the decision earlier in the month. This comes after daily infections fell below 20,000, from a peak of 400,000. More people have been vaccinated.
India has administered over 970 million doses of vaccines. Nearly 70% have received at least one dose.
However, the relaxation of restrictions on foreign tourists visiting India coincides with India’s festive and tourist season. It has already raised concerns from health officials, who warned against complacency.
The Indian Council of Medical Research, India’s foremost medical body, warned that revenge tourism could cause an increase in COVID-19 infection rates if tourists fail to follow safety protocols.
Official data shows that less than 3,000,000 foreign tourists visited India in 2020. This was a drop of more than 75% compared to 2019.