India will reopen its borders to foreign tourists arriving in the country on charter flights (‘charter’) from 15 October, but visitors traveling on regular flights will have to wait until 15 November.
“The Ministry of Internal Affairs has decided to authorize new tourist visas for foreigners arriving in India on charter flights with effect from 15 October,” Indian authorities announced last week.
“Foreign tourists entering India on flights other than ‘charter’ flights will be able to do so from 15 November,” they added.
India suspended all commercial passenger air operations at the end of March last year to halt the spread of the new coronavirus.
The country has been progressively lifting restrictions since then, first allowing domestic air traffic and then opening “air bubbles” with several countries.
Foreigners on business or work visas had so far been allowed to travel to India, but the authorities had kept the veto on tourists for fear of contagion.
After a virulent second wave of the pandemic in April and May that left hospitals on the brink of collapse and crematoria overcrowded with more than 400,000 cases a day, infections are now in sharp decline, below 20,000 daily cases.
So far, India has administered 967 million vaccines against Covid-19, although only 276 million people have received the double dose, according to the latest data released by the Indian Ministry of Health, so the total immunization of the country’s population, with 1.3 billion inhabitants, it is still far away.
Since the start of the pandemic, India has registered more than 34 million cases of Covid-19 and more than 451,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University count.
The United States alone, with 44.5 million cases, exceeds India in total infections.
Covid-19 has caused at least 4,861,478 deaths worldwide, among more than 238.59 million infections by the new coronavirus recorded since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the latest report by the Agence France-Presse.
The respiratory disease is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, detected in late 2019 in Wuhan, a city in central China, and currently with variants identified in several countries.