Verum had just stepped out of bed. And she was late for class! She had to take a bath, dress up and grab some breakfast. Suddenly, upbeat music filled the Mystical dorm room. Verum, who had been yawning ten seconds ago, now felt like dancing. She turned to the source, her trusty crystal ball. Verum said, “What’s the news? Why are we celebrating?”

“Is this true?” said Verum as a smile spread across her face, “Has India really opened its doors to fully vaccinated foreign tourists?”

Felix entered the room and said, “Verum, you’re late! Hurry! Hur… Oh wait, it’s world-gazing time!”

“Wait for a second,” he  added, “Are you saying that foreign tourists weren’t allowed to enter India until now?”

“A few months after the pandemic began, India imposed one of the toughest lockdowns in the world. As another precaution, it stopped issuing tourist visas,” said Verum, “That is, foreign tourists couldn’t travel to the country on commercial flights.”

“But what about air bubbles, Verum?” said Felix.

“Air bubbles are a temporary arrangement between two countries to help restart commercial passenger services. You see, international flights were still not functional,” replied Verum, “However, these arrangements allowed for limited flight services. That’s why at the insistence of foreign embassies and the tourism industry, the government resumed international flights.”

She added, “The tourism industry was the worst hit during the pandemic. This move will provide a much-needed boost.”

“Will the tourists entering India have to follow any restrictions?” said Scorch.

“Yes, they must be fully vaccinated and follow all Covid-19 protocol,” said Verum, “They will have to test negative for the coronavirus within 72 hours of their flight. Some tourists might have to take a test at the airport too.”

“However, travelers from about 99 countries won’t have to show a negative test certificate or undergo quarantine. India has mutual vaccine recognition agreements with these countries which include the United States, United Kingdom, and other European countries,” added Verum.

“Are there any drawbacks to the situation?” said Orak.

“Yeah, the number of flights hasn’t increased yet. So, the tickets have continued to be extremely expensive,” said Verum, “Hopefully, this will change in the coming weeks.”