Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Saturday said RT-PCR test for the detection of COVID-19 would be made mandatory for passengers from China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand for their travel to India.

He also said that passengers arriving in India from these countries will undergo thermal screening at airports and those found COVID-19 positive or with fever will be quarantined.

Talking to reporters in Gandhinagar, Mandaviya said that filling up of the 'Air Suvidha' form to declare the health status will be made mandatory for passengers coming from these countries.

"In view of the COVID-19 pandemic situation, passengers from China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Bangkok (Thailand) are required to upload their RT-PCR reports in advance (for travel to India). After landing in India, they will undergo thermal screening and we have issued an order for them to be quarantined if found positive or with fever on their arrival in the country," the minister said.

Mandaviya was in the Gujarat capital to deliver a convocation address of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER).

Talking to reporters, he also said that the central government was taking steps against COVID-19 as cases are rising in places like South Korea, Hong Kong, Europe, America and Brazil.

"Yesterday, a COVID-19 advisory was issued. Through newspaper advertisements, people are being made aware. In Parliament, I made a statement in which I urged people to mandatorily use masks, maintain social distancing and follow COVID-appropriate behaviour so that in future, India can be saved from the new BF.7 variant of the virus," he said.

Meanwhile, Mandaviya posted a tweet saying, "Sample testing of international passengers, including those from China, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Japan, South Korea, has been initiated at the Delhi International Airport. All necessary steps are being taken in view of the evolving coronavirus situation."

With China and other countries witnessing a surge in COVID-19 cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday cautioned against complacency, called for a strict vigil and directed that the ongoing surveillance measures, especially at the international airports, be strengthened.

The Union Health Ministry has already asked the civil aviation ministry to ensure random post-arrival coronavirus testing at airports of two per cent of the passengers arriving in India in each international flight from Saturday to minimise the risk of ingress of any new variant of the coronavirus in the country.