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Last updated on 10 December 2020

The Indian travel sector has slowly readjusting itself to the new normal. From travel bubbles to contactless travel to open-dated accommodation packages, the Indian tourism industry is taking baby steps to breathe into the new life. Travellers have already started planning their next vacation and have started to remain up to date with the upcoming travel news and guidelines.

Are you planning to travel to Punjab? Read on to know more about the latest quarantine rules and COVID-19 testing guidelines in Punjab.

Punjab travel and quarantine rules

Please note that both domestic, as well as international passengers arriving at any of the airports in Punjab, will be thermally screened. If found symptomatic, they will have to get tested for COVID-19 at their own expense. All travellers must download Aarogya Setu app.

Domestic passengers

With the commercial domestic aviation services restarting in the country, travellers from any Indian state can now enter Punjab.

The Department of Home Affairs and Justice, Government of Punjab stated in its guidelines that there shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods including those for cross-border land trade under treaties with neighbouring countries. No separate permission, approval or e-permit will be required for such movements.

Home quarantine is no longer mandatory for asymptomatic travellers. All passengers must register on the COVA Punjab App or on the weblink before commencing their journey.

International passengers

According to the Bureau of Migration and Government of Punjab, all international passengers travelling to Punjab must mandatorily fill an online self-declaration form and register themselves and their family members on the Punjab state portal or COVA Punjab App at least 72 hours prior to their departure to India. On arrival all passengers are mandated to undergo quarantine for 14 days that includes 7 days paid institutional quarantine at their own cost, followed by seven days of isolation at home/suitable accommodation with self-monitoring of health.

For compelling reasons or cases of human distress such as pregnancy, death in the family, severe illness and parent(s) with children of the age of 10 years or below, home quarantine may be permitted for 14 days.

Travellers may also seek exemption from institutional quarantine by submitting a negative RT-PCR test report on arrival. This report should have been issued within 72 hr of the departure. The test report should be uploaded on the portal for consideration.

A few hotels in Punjab are providing paid institutional quarantine facilities for domestic and international travellers. You can select one and book it from the COVID-19 Hotel Booking Portal from the Government of Punjab. Other free common quarantine facilities offered by Government of Punjab can also be options. Readers are advised to check with the hotel authority regarding the facilities’ current status to quarantine travellers.

COVID-19 testing facilities and guidelines in Punjab

As sanctioned by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), coronavirus tests in Punjab are of the following types: Real-time RT PCR tests, Antigen tests, TrueNat tests and CBNAAT tests.

Along with government medical centres, numerous private labs have been set up following ICMR guidelines to meet the COVID-19 testing demands in Punjab. You can find a list of government and private labs in Punjab from where you can get a COVID test report here. There are an estimated 9 government hospitals/laboratories and 4 private ones in the state of Punjab doing COVID-19 testing using various diagnostic modalities.

Punjab Government has decided to allow free walk-in testing in government hospitals and mobile vans to encourage increased Covid testing to check the surge in cases in the state. People who want their result immediately can opt for Rapid Antigen testing while RT-PCR testing will also be similarly available.

The state has also decided to explore similar arrangements for Rapid Antigen testing by pharmacists/chemists, on the lines of private hospitals and doctors. Those who test positive through Rapid Antigen Tests or are symptomatic but negative can be tested again through RT-PCR test for confirmation.

What do you need to know and prepare before getting tested?

You should get tested for COVID-19 if you have one or more of the following clinical symptoms for a prolonged duration: fever, difficulty in breathing, cough, sore throat, running nose, loss of taste or smell, and body pain. It would take anywhere between 3 hours to 2 days for the test results to arrive. Until then, you must isolate yourself to prevent the spread of infection.

You will likely be charged INR 1,600 for an RT PCR test, INR 2,400 for CBNAAT test, INR 2,000 for TrueNat test, and INR 700 for Rapid antigen test.

However, it is always preferred to call on the toll-free number 1075 or central helpline number +91-11-23978046 for information before going to get tested. In Punjab, you may also call 104, the state helpline number for COVID-19. District-wise helpline contact numbers can be found here.

Please carry your government ID card (Aadhar card/ Passport/ Voter ID) and proof of your address when you proceed to get tested at any of the laboratories/ hospitals.