India has begun allowing fully vaccinated visitors from almost 100 countries, including from Malaysia, to enter the country from today, without the need to be quarantined upon arrival.

However, according to the Indian Health Ministry, visitors have to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their flight, and have to follow health protocols at all times.

This is the first time India has opened its borders to foreign travellers since the country imposed a strict lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, in March last year.

Last month, it allowed entry to foreign travelers on chartered flights, but this is the first time it has allowed in those arriving on commercial flights.

India currently has agreements with 99 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe, for recognition of vaccine certificates, and travelers from these places can enter the country without taking a COVID-19 test upon arrival, or undergoing a quarantine after arrival.

Travelers from "low risk" countries will be required to monitor their health for 14 days after arrival, and strictly follow the COVID-19 protocols during their visit.

In a bid to boost its tourism industry, India is even issuing 500,000 free visas until March next year.

The move to reopen borders comes after India experienced a drop in COVID-19 cases, and the increase in vaccination rates.

As of last month, India has administered more than 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses, since the vaccination drive kicked off in January.

With more than 35 million reported infections, and over 460,000 deaths, India remains the second-worst-hit country in the world, by the pandemic.

Source: Astro Awani, CNBC
Photo source: AFP via New York Times