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So, the country is finally beginning to open up after staying in lockdown for months, and the restrictions are getting relaxed all around. But, what does that mean for all you travel bugs out there whose vacation plans had been squashed by the pandemic? It must have felt heartbreaking to cancel the tickets and bookings when the country went into a lockdown, right? So, is it safe now to resume all your Tour & Travel plans already?

Though there is no easy way to answer these questions, we, at Travels Paradise, will try and show you some direction in this regard.

To Travel or Not to Travel: The Answer to Your Dilemma

The Indian Government has allowed a limited number of domestic flights to resume operations across the country, though the international flights have still not resumed. So, it is quite evident that those international vacations will have to wait, and you can only travel within the country as of now.

When it comes to whether you should travel or not, it’s entirely your choice as you hold the responsibility to safeguard your personal safety. As you might be aware, more and more people are now venturing out to explore the country and adjust to the new normal since the restrictions have been relaxed. But a piece of advice would be to check the quarantine regulations and the travelling restrictions beforehand of the state you are making your tour and travel plans for.

If you ask for our opinion, we would say that you have kept your wanderlust under check for quite a long now. So if you take all the precautions and measures, it would be perfectly fine to travel within your own state or to another state. But do ensure that you take all the necessary safeguards.

Also, it is important to assess your medical history, age, and other risk factors before booking those tickets. Older adults, people with pre-existing breathing disorders, and the likes are at a greater risk of contracting the virus. So, even though it’s such a bummer to just shelf your travel plans for the time being now, if you belong to the ‘risk group’, it would be advisable to let those travel plans wait for a while.

Air Travel: The Safest Mode of Travel at Present

As of now, the only mode of travel available to you is air travel, though talks are on to resume the operations of trains soon.

Given the precautions that the airlines are taking for the safe travel of the passengers, the flights are your safest mode of travel. The crew is frequently cleaning and disinfecting the high-touch points like overhead bins, food trays, and seat handles, and are taking complete care to follow proper social distancing norms.

Our Two Cents…

If you are up with your travelling plans and are all set to explore the country, go for the flights. They are the safest for travelling in the current scenario. Do not hop out without taking the best measures to protect yourself. A word of caution would be to avoid visiting overcrowded places amid the pandemic. It would be wise not to make your tour and travel plans for cities that are already experiencing a blast in Corona cases. Instead, opt for uncharted locations. Such places are comparatively safer to travel as they don’t attract huge crowds.

Last, but not the least, travelling is not as important as your health and well-being. If you are in the pink of your health, you can surely make your travelling plans while keeping hold of all the precautions. However, if in case, you have any existing health issues or belong to the risk group, shelve the plans for now. And don’t worry, we, at Travels Paradise, are right here to keep delivering you with your regular dose of tour and travel info so that you can make even better and well-planned trips to your favourite place once the pandemic is over.

The basics

India is currently the global center of a devastating new wave of the pandemic, with the country’s health system close to collapse.
The country swiftly closed its borders at the start of the pandemic, banning all scheduled international flights in March 2020.
Tourists are still banned, though those traveling on other visas from the continents of Europe, Africa and South America are now allowed, along with travelers from other destinations who meet strict criteria.

Current flight bans

Due to the second wave of infections, many places are massively reducing, indefinitely suspending or banning travel to and from India. At present, those destinations include Australia, Canada, China (including Hong Kong), Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the United Kingdom (which added India to its “red list”) and the United States.
The U.S. State Department alert reads in part, “If you must travel to India, get fully vaccinated before travel. All travelers should wear a mask, stay six feet from others, avoid crowds, and wash their hands.”
A planned travel bubble with Sri Lanka has been postponed.

What’s on offer

The question is: What isn’t on offer in India? This vast country has an astonishing range of landscapes, architecture, cultures and religions. Most first-timers stick to the “golden triangle” of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, but other big hitters for newbies include the Kerala waterways, beaches of Goa and Mumbai, one of the world’s most thrilling cities.

Who can go

Tourists are not yet permitted. Only Indian nationals, those moving to the country as residents, and those from certain countries who qualify for visas other than tourist visas may go. From the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, things are more restricted — only diplomats and those listed in a government memorandum may travel. However other visa holders from the European Union, Africa and South America may travel — as long as it is not on a tourist visa.

What are the restrictions?

Regular international flights are suspended, although Vande Bharat Mission repatriation flights are operating, as are “air transport bubbles” from various countries around the world — although only those meeting the visa criteria for entry are allowed on these flights.
All arrivals are screened. Anyone showing symptoms will be taken to a medical facility. Land borders are closed, other than for returning India nationals.
As of February 22, all travelers must upload a self-declaration form on the Air Suvidha Portal, as well as a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the journey. They must also declare via the portal that they will quarantine at home for 14 days on arrival.
Travelers arriving from the UK or Middle East must fill in the same form, declaring their travel history of the past 14 days, and any connecting flights on arrival in India, as well as provide a negative PCR test. They will be segregated in-flight or while disembarking and must undergo a further PCR test on arrival at their own expense. They must stay at the airport until they get their results.
Transit passengers coming from these countries who test negative can catch their connecting flights, but must quarantine at home for seven days, and take a test at the end of the quarantine period.

What’s the Covid situation?

India has seen over 18.3 million cases and nearly 205,000 deaths as of April 29, overtaking Brazil as the country with the world’s second-highest case numbers, after the United States. Health services are close to collapse.
The outbreak has pushed the country’s healthcare system to near breaking point. With no space left in hospitals, patients are being left to die at home, in ambulances and outside clinics. Even those who are given a bed remain in danger, with hospitals running out of oxygen and asking patients’ families to bring their own.
On the first anniversary of its initial lockdown, India recorded 50,000 new cases — a record since November. India reported 295,041 cases of coronavirus and 2,023 deaths on April 21, its highest rise in cases and highest death increase recorded in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a CNN tally of figures from the Indian Ministry of Health.
By April 28, that figure was 379,308 new cases, and 3,645 deaths — another record. India is now registering over a million new cases every three days.
It follows what experts say was a relaxing of behavior in early March, after the federal health minister declared that India was “in the endgame” of the pandemic.
On April 20, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal — who has previously warned of a “fourth wave” — warned that some Delhi hospitals had just “a few hours of oxygen” left.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced plans for the delivery of 100,000 cylinders of oxygen nationwide, new oxygen production plants, and hospitals dedicated to Covid patients.
Meanwhile, families are appealing on social media for oxygen and antiviral medication Remdesivir for their loved ones.
There are said to be nearly 800 variants present in the country.
In the city of Surat in Gujarat state, nearly 150 people are being turned away from hospitals every day, said Dr. Hiral Shah, president of the state-level Indian Medical Association.
“Our hospitals are overwhelmed with our own population and we are running low on oxygen so we are not able to admit those coming in from surrounding areas,” he said. “The supply (of oxygen) is uncertain, hospitals don’t know what will happen today or tomorrow.”
The situation has serious implications for the rest of the world, say experts.
“If we don’t help in India, I worry about an explosion of cases” around the world, said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.
Over 147 million vaccination doses have been delivered so far — with over 18.5 million, or 1.81% of the population, fully vaccinated. Maharashtra, Odisha and Punjab state health officials have previously reported vaccine shortages. The country has currently bought enough vaccines to cover 8% of its 1.4 billion population.

What can visitors expect?

India imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in March 2020, though restrictions have been eased as the months have gone on. Weddings and religious events are now allowed to take place, and domestic travel is allowed. However, different states are imposing different regulations. Maharashtra — where Mumbai is located — imposed an evening curfew on 28 March.
Non-essential shops are now closed in Maharashtra, and grocery stores are only open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Gatherings of more than five people are banned.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been holding political rallies across the country, addressed the nation on April 20. He appealed to states to “use a lockdown as their last option,” even as the capital New Delhi entered its first full-day lockdown.
The Kumbh Mela, an important Hindu festival and one of the biggest pilgrimages on Earth, has gone ahead throughout April. Millions of Indians have traveled from across the country to Haridwar, an ancient city in Uttarakhand state, to attend ceremonies and prayers and take sacred dips in the Ganges River. Visitors must register online and test negative before bathing, but experts have warned it “could go down as one of the largest mass super spreading events ever.”