India allows some medical tourists to return


All visas except electronic and tourist visas are now being issued as part of the relaxation of visa and travel restrictions for India.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs now allows all overseas citizens of India and all persons of Indian origin card holders, and all others except on a tourist visa, to again visit India for any purposes including tourism and medical tourism.

Foreign nationals intending to visit India for medical treatment can again apply for a medical visa including for medical attendants.

They can enter by water and air, but not by land. Scheduled international flights are still banned but other commercial flights are now allowed.

All these travellers still have to abide by many rules including the need for a 14-day quarantine, COVID-19 testing before flying, and local lockdowns.

Separately India has agreed to a travel bubble with Bangladesh, the source of many medical tourists.

Bangladesh has resumed scheduled flights to India under air bubble arrangements with certain restrictions. The resumption will bring relief to many Bangladeshis who are waiting to travel to India for treatment. Initially 5,000 passengers from each country can fly each week. All passengers must undergo COVID-19 testing before flying. Medical visas are now being issued.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has launched a Task Force on Ayurveda Tourism. The key focus is to promote the alternative Indian medical system in domestic as well as international markets.

The task force will develop a road map for Ayurveda tourism by working with the government and key stakeholders. Efforts will be made to ensure that information on all the Ayurveda centres along with their safety measures and guidelines are available online for easy access.



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