The government on Wednesday suspended all existing visas to India till April 15 amid mounting concern over the novel coronavirus outbreak. The decision was taken at a meeting of the group of ministers (GoM) held in Delhi under the chairpersonship of Union health minister Harsh Vardhan.
“All existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/International Organizations, employment, project visas, stand suspended till 15th April 2020. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on 13thMarch 2020 at the port of departure,” said an official release.
It said: “Visa free travel facility granted to OCI card holders is kept in abeyance till April 15th 2020. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on 13th March 2020 at the port of departure.”
Any foreign national who intends to travel to India for compelling reason has been advised to contact the nearest Indian Mission.
India reported 10 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, taking the total number to 60. As the infection continued to spread its tentacles in the country, state governments and UTs' have been taking number of initiatives to check and prevent the spread of the infection.
“All incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany after 15th February, 2020 shall be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days,” the health ministry statement said.
The ministry has advised incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, to avoid non-essential travel and said they can be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days on their arrival in India.
It also urged Indian nationals to avoid all non-essential travel abroad. “On their return, they can be subjected to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days,” the release said.
International traffic through land borders will be restricted to designated check posts with robust screening facilities.
“Provision for testing primarily for students/compassionate cases in Italy to be made and collection for samples to be organized accordingly. Those tested negative will be allowed to travel and will be quarantined on arrival in India for 14 days,” the release further said.
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Among the fresh cases reported in India, eight were from Kerala and one each from Delhi and Rajasthan since Tuesday, the health ministry said and gave state-wise breakup which included five (Delhi), nine (Uttar Pradesh), four (Karnataka) and two in Ladakh.
While the Union ministry maintained that there are two confirmed cases of the infection in Maharashtra, the state health officials put the number to seven.
Rajasthan, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab have reported one case each, the ministry said, adding Kerala has till now reported 17 cases, including the three patients who were discharged last month following recovery.
The total number of 60 confirmed cases includes 16 Italians tourists, the ministry said.