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India suspends tourist visas from March 13 to prevent coronavirus spread

The order will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13

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Coronavirus

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

coronavirus, COVID 19
The suspension will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13 at the port of departure

India on Wednesday suspended all visas, except a few categories such as diplomatic and employment, till April 15 in a bid to contain the spread of novel coronavirus, according to an official statement.

The government also "strongly advised" Indians to avoid all non-essential travel abroad.

The suspension will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13 at the port of departure.

The decision was taken at a meeting of a group of ministers held here under the chairmanship of Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.

"All existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/International organisations, employment and project visas, stand suspended till 15th April 2020. This will come into effect from 1200GMT on 13th March 2020 at the port of departure," the statement said.

Visa-free travel facility granted to Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card holders is also kept in abeyance till April 15.

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Any foreign who intends to travel to India for compelling reason may contact the nearest Indian Mission, the release said, adding that all incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany after February 15 will be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days.

The government advised the incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, to avoid non-essential travel and told them 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 quarantine for a minimum of 14 days," it said.

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, the release said.


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Provision for testing primarily for students/compassionate cases in Italy to be made and collection for samples to be organised accordingly.

Those tested negative will be allowed to travel and will be quarantined on arrival in India for 14 days, the press release said.

The second meeting of the group of ministers was attended among others by ministers Hardeep S Puri (Civil Aviation), S Jaishankar (External Affairs), Nityananda Rai (MoS Home), Mansukh Mandaviya (MoS Shipping) and Ashwini Kumar Choubey (MoS Health).

The GOM discussed the recommendations made by the Committee of Secretaries chaired by the Cabinet Secretary and took the latest decisions, the release added.

First Published: Wed, March 11 2020. 22:22 IST
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