In the wake of coronavirus spreading to more and more countries, the Indian government on Wednesday said all existing visas to India stand cancelled till April 15. The government said the regulations will come into effect at 1200 GMT on March 13 from the port of departure.
However, diplomatic visas, official visas, visas by the United Nations or other international organisations, and employment and project visas are not included in this but these categories too will have to get tested themselves as and when needed.
The decision was taken at a meeting of a Group of Ministers headed by Minister of Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan.
The novel coronavirus was first confirmed in Wuhan in China and was characterised a pandemic on Wednesday. It has already claimed lives of over 4,000 people and infected over a lakh around the world. India already has had about 60 cases with no deaths reported yet.
The Government had stated that all travelers coming from China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain and Germany after February 15 will be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days. Travelers who visited the above stated countries as a layover between connecting flights will also be quarantined.
It was also added that till April 15, visa-free travel facility granted to Overseas Citizens of India will be kept in abeyance.
According to the notification issued by the Government, Indian nationals are strongly advised to put off non-essential travel to a foreign country. They can be subjected to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. It also said that in case a foreigner wishes to travel to India for unavoidable reasons then the nearest Indian mission should be contacted.
Referring to international traffic through land borders, the press release stated that there will be designated check posts that will have robust screening facilities in place.
New instructions are being added to the advisories that have been issued by the Government with coronavirus affecting more people each day.