Hurray !! Finally Andaman islands are open again for tourists. In this blog I have mentioned all you need to know for travelling to Andamans post lockdown. Post lockdown the islands were declared open for tourism on the eve of world tourism day on 27 September 2020. Standard operating procedure was formed for phased reopening of all tourist places and activities.
There is no quarantine for tourists visiting Andamans. However all tourists arriving in Andaman need to undergo COVID testing as per the below mentioned procedure:
1. The tourists arriving at Port Blair will be tested for COVID-19 at Veer Savarkar airport using Rapid Antigen Test (RAT). The results will be given at the airport itself. The tourists will be charged as per rate fixed by Administration. (Presently Rs. 500/- per person). If the tourist tests negative, he/she can proceed for the trip. If found positive, he/she will have to undergo Institutional isolation till recovery from COVID-19.
2. Alternatively, the tourists can opt to carry COVID-19 negative report from mainland based ICMR approved lab using Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RTPCR) or True Nat test. However, the sample for RTPCR/True Nat test should have been taken within 48 hours of starting the journey from the origin station. (For e.g. if the tourist takes a flight from Delhi at 0600 hrs on 1st November 2020, the sample for RTPCR/True Nat test should have been taken not before 0600 hrs. on 30th October, 2020). The result of this RTPCR/True Nat test will be confirmed online using the SRF-ID, following which the tourist will be exempted from RAT testing at the airport, and can proceed for the trip.
3. If the sample for RTPCR/True Nat test has been taken more than 48 hours from starting of journey, re-test will be done at Veer Savarkar Airport using RAT test, even if RTPCR/True Nat test result is negative. The tourists will be charged as per rate fixed by Administration. (Presently Rs. 500/- per person).
4. No institutional or home quarantine is required to be observed if the tourist has tested negative either through RAT test at Airport or RTPCR/True Nat test at ICMR approved lab.
To know more about the guidelines and SOPs visit the official page of Andaman tourism at https://www.andamantourism.gov.in/Ann_all.php.
Flights to Andaman have been limited to restrict number of incoming passengers to Andamans. Thus many sectors have been withdrawn and as on date only 07 flights are permitted to land in Port Blair daily. It is advised to check with the airline before booking the flight tickets. Below is the flight schedule till 27 March 2021.
As on 08 Nov 20 all islands of South Andaman except Little Andaman are open for tourists. Tourism in North and Middle Andaman and Nicobar group has not yey started. All beaches in Port Blair, Swaraj Dweep (Havelock) & Shaheed Dweep (Neil Island) have been opened. Cellular Jail and Anthropological museum are open too. The government ferry schedule till 16 November is as below :
Permission has been accorded for water sports activities such as Jet Ski rides, inflatable rides, Parasailing and snorkeling. SOPs for Scuba Diving and Sea Walk are under formation. All activities will be allowed subject to adherence to COVID protocols and MHA guidelines. Andaman tourism is ensuring that tourists are delivered a safe and secure holiday experience.
If the tourist on arrival at airport tests positive, he/she will need to undergo institutional isolation as per existing health protocols. The cost of such isolation for govt. facility will be paid by the tourist as fixed by the administration from time to time. (Presently Rs. 1000/- for isolation at ITI Dollygunj COVID Ward).
If the patient wants to stay at hotels he/she can stay in the hotels if all the conditions below are met:
a) Patients are not symptomatic and not more than 60 years old.
b) Request/undertaking is made by patient in writing.
c) If allowed by doctors.
It is advised to get yourself tested for COVID within 48 hours before your arrival so that there is no testing for you in Andaman.
Below is the health bulletin released by A&N Administration depicting the overall COVID cases in Andaman as on 07 Nov 20.
For more update on the COVID situation in Andamans visit the official website of the Directorate of Health Services, Andaman & Nicobar https://dhs.andaman.gov.in/
Compared to mainland India, Andaman is much safer in terms of COVID spread. Andaman Administration has made all possible efforts to provide quality health care and quarantine support to ensure that travelling to Andaman post lockdown is safe for you. Tourism has been started in a phased manner following all safety measures and COVID protocols. Given the fact that COVID has totally changed our lives, we too need to survive with the new normal. Andaman is fully prepared to welcome tourists with utmost care and with the same warmth and hospitality.