India to stop issuing tourist visas, all arrivals subject to quarantine

Ritu Jha-

Concerned over the uncontrolled novel coronavirus (COVID-19) the Indian government announced Wednesday that it would suspend all tourist visas starting March 13, and it applies to people traveling on Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card as well and if they have traveled, they can be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days on their arrival in India.

When indica asked the Indian consulate in San Francisco the press release does not mention United States so does it include US as well, the consulate confirmed “Yes”.

According to the press release circulated by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the action was taken after detailed deliberations on preventive measures, and preparedness for Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), under the chairmanship of Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, the  Committee of Secretaries chaired by Cabinet Secretary along with a group of ministers.

The travel advisory goes into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13, 2020, at the port of departure and will remain in effect until April 15.

The advisory states “All existing visas, except diplomatic, official, U.N./international organizations, employment, project visas, stand suspended till 15th April 2020.”

And any foreign national who intends to travel to India for compelling reason may contact the nearest Indian Mission.

The suspension also applies on visa-free travel facility granted to OCI cardholders until April 15, 2020.  And all incoming travelers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, the Republic of Korea, France, Spain, and Germany shall be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days.

Indian nationals, as well as non-Indians, are strongly advised to avoid all non-essential travel abroad. They can be subjected to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days on arrival in India.

The COVID-19 virus, which was first detected in China’s Wuhan city in the Hubei province past December now has spread over 80 counties including India and has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India website reports 60 confirmed cases of COVID-19 including foreign nationals in India.





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