Medical travel has been on the rise as patients prefer to seek better treatment when their countries do not have proper medical facilities available. However, the COVID-19 outbreak has crippled the whole world, and healthcare systems across the globe have collapsed unexpectedly. The virus has impacted all spheres of our lives. The pandemic has caused a large number of deaths and a staggering rise in cases, and people are confined to their homes since 2019.
Lockdowns were imposed to contain the viral spread and almost every country had suspended not just international travel but also domestic travel. International flights from all countries were suspended from March 2020. Even when the restrictions were gradually lifted and eased, the second wave of coronavirus has wreaked havoc in India, and travel to and from India has been suspended again.
Hospitals and doctors in India have a high patient load and the healthcare system is on the verge of crashing down. Not enough healthcare providers are available to attend to the increasing patient inflow. Although India is a preferred choice for patients all over the world because of world-class facilities at nominal costs, the hospitals are dealing with a patient load beyond their capacities.
The Indian Government has started an e-visa for medical travel in India at an affordable cost. According to rules, two attendants along with the patient can travel to India as part of health tourism in India. The attendants must obtain an e-Medical attendant visa. The travel for receiving medical treatment must be approved by the hospital or a recognized medical center in India. The e-visa facility is available for patients from 156 countries but patients from some countries like Canada, the USA, and the UK are still banned from entering India. Furthermore, the Indian government has also announced free tourist visas for 5 lakh tourists. This mandate was based on considering the average daily stay of medical tourists (21 days) and average daily spending ($34). The announcement was a part of the economic relief measures issued by the Indian Finance Ministry.
The second wave of COVID-19 has led to the imposition of a ban on almost all the major cities in the country that are under strict lockdown, and people are not even allowed to move out of their homes in the national capital. People traveling for medical care are urged to inquire about all the restrictions and requirements for the city they intend to travel to for treatment. Patients must also be aware of COVID advisory of their home countries as travel during a pandemic can do more harm than good despite the best medical travel services in India. Moreover, patients are advised to address the general risks associated with their travel during the pandemic.
All patients entering India are now required to report at only 28 major airports and 5 seaports that have facilities to process e-visa. Also, all international travelers must be able to produce a negative RT_PCR report as proof to show that they are COVID negative and are also required to complete a self-declaration form. It is also advisable that if the treatment is not urgent and serious, then patients must avoid traveling to India as more than 4 lakh cases are being reported daily.
Therefore, patients traveling from other countries must make sure they are equipped with the required information and have made the necessary arrangements for travel to get treated at one of the best medical tourism companies in India. Furthermore, they must be well-prepared for their safe accommodation, travel, and follow all the COVID advisories of their chosen hospital.
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