New Delhi: Giving it a huge relief to all foreign returnees, the Union Home Ministry on Tuesday has written to all states that citizens who have been quarantined in hotels after their return from abroad and who were made to pay an advance for 14 days, must be refunded half of the amount as per the revised guidelines. Also Read - MHA Issues SOPs For Movement of Indians Stranded Abroad, Read Guidelines Here

The Home Ministry in the letter stated that they require only seven days of institutional quarantine in the hotel. Also Read - MHA Issues Revised SOP on Movement of Stranded Migrant Workers, Asks States to Operate More Trains

“As per the guidelines, protocols for institutional quarantine have been revised to seven days followed by seven days home quarantine after medical assessment,” the MHA said in the letter to states.

“It has been brought to the notice of this ministry that Indian nationals who were quarantined in hotels after their return from abroad were made to pay advance for 14 days. Since they can now leave for home quarantine after seven days, the amount paid by them for the remaining seven days needs to be refunded to them with some hotels refusing to do so,” it added.

The Home Ministry further urged the state chief secretaries to issue necessary directions to hotels to ensure the returnees are refunded.

“You are requested to issue necessary directions to hotels earmarked/used for institutional quarantine to ensure that foreign returnees who were quarantined in hotels and paid an advance for 14 days, shall be refunded their balance amount without any delay,” the MHA said.

The guidelines from the MHA have been revised to allow foreign returnees to remain under institutional quarantine for only seven days, with a further seven-day home quarantine after medical assessment.

On Sunday, the MHA had issued a fresh Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) for the return of Indians stranded abroad due to the coronavirus lockdown, saying it will be a paid service and preference will be given to people in distress including those who have lost their jobs and pregnant women.

A similar SOP was also issued by the government for those who are stranded in India and desire to travel abroad.

As per the latest SOP, all travellers will have to give an undertaking that they would undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days. It will be a seven-day paid institutional quarantine at their own cost, followed by seven days of isolation at home with self-monitoring of health.