India on March 11 announced suspension of all tourist visas effective from March 13 for one month till April 15 in an attempt to contain the spread of Novel Coronavirus.
According to an official statement, the decision to suspend visas was taken at the meeting of Group of Ministers (GoM), held in New Delhi where Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also took part. Simultaneously, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a pandemic.
“All existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/International organizations, employment and project visas stand suspended till April 15, 2020. This will come into effect from March 13, 2020 at the port of departure,” the statement added.
WHO Director-General told a news conference that the UN body had “made the assessment that COVID19 can be characterized as a pandemic.” He said WHO’s mandate was public health and it was working with many partners across all sectors, to mitigate the social and economic consequences of this COVID19 pandemic.
According to the revised travel advisory, any foreign national, who intends to travel to India for compelling reason, may contact the nearest Indian Mission. All incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain and Germany after February 15, 2020, shall be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days. This will come into effect from 5:30 am on March 13, at the port of departure.
The incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, are advised to avoid non-essential travel and are informed that they can be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days on their arrival in India.
Indian nationals are strongly advised to avoid all non-essential travel abroad. On their return, they can be subjected to 14-day quarantine.
International traffic through land borders will be restricted to designated check posts with robust screening facilities. These will be notified separately by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Provision for testing primarily for students/compassionate cases in Italy is to be made and collection for samples is to be organised, accordingly.
Those tested negative will be allowed to travel and will be quarantined on arrival in India for 14 days.
While all incoming travellers, including Indians, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain and Germany after February 15 shall be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days, the GoM decided to keep in abeyance, visa-free travel facility granted to OCI cardholders till April 15.
This will come into effect from 5:30 am on March 13, at the port of departure.
The Union Home Secretary, as Chairman of National Executive Committee, “delegates its power under clauses of Disaster Management Act, 2005 to Secretary Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to enhance preparedness and containment of Coronavirus,” the statement said.