New Delhi:

International passengers who have to take connecting domestic flights after landing in India will have the option of getting themselves tested for COVID-19 at the entry airports, the Civil Aviation Ministry said on Wednesday.

If the RT-PCR test result is negative, the international passenger will be allowed to catch his or her connecting domestic flight and he or she will not need to undergo any institutional quarantine at the destination city, the ministry's order said.

The test result will come in a maximum of seven hours. Till the results come, the passenger will have to remain in the waiting lounge of the entry airport, the order noted.

An international passenger who does not have a negative COVID-negative result certificate from a test done not more than 96 hours prior to the journey, and who does not opt for on-arrival testing facility at the entry airport, will have to compulsorily undergo seven-day institutional quarantine followed by seven-day home quarantine.

Such on-arrival testing facilities may be extended to other passengers too, the order said.

On August 2, the Health Ministry had said if an international passenger has a negative result from an RT-PCR test done 96 hours prior to the journey, he or she will not need to undergo institutional quarantine in India.

Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in the country since March 23 due to the pandemic.

However, special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May and under bilateral air bubble pacts signed with various countries since July.