India has suspended all travel visas from tomorrow (13 March 2020) to 15 April in its most drastic measure yet to battle the novel coronavirus which has officially been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
This month-long suspension comes at a times when India usually gets a large number of tourists, including those taking advantage of the mild cold weather of Punjab in the north.
The revised travel advisory, dated 11 March, is a result of the high level group of ministers meeting and comes into effect from 1200 GMT on 13 March at the port of departure, according to a statement released by India’s Press Information Bureau (PIB). See here.
Pakistan has yet to issue any such measures at this point of time.
The India move also impacts those holding the so-called Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card whose visa free travel facility will also be ‘kept in abeyance’ till 15 April.
“I have a group of nine who were supposed to travel to India in a few days time for a pre-wedding shopping. The wedding is in August. I’m working out with the airlines to see if they can get a full refund for their tickets,” a Kuala Lumpur tour agent told Asia Samachar.
“This is a peak season. Many love travelling to India during this period.”
The latest measure also said that all incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany after 15 February will be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days.
THE ANNOUNCEMENT IN FULL
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
High level Group of Ministers reviews current status, and actions for prevention and management of COVID-19
Revised Travel Advisory issued
Posted On: 11 MAR 2020 10:18PM by PIB Delhi
The sixth meeting of the GoM was held at Nirman Bhawan today under the chairpersonship of Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare. Sh. Hardeep S. Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation, Dr. S. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, Sh. Nityananda Rai, Minister of State for Home, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State (I/c), Ministry of Shipping, Chemicals and Fertilisers and Sh. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Health & Family Welfare were present.
The recommendations of the Committee of Secretaries chaired by Cabinet Secretary were placed before GoM. After detailed deliberations on preventive measures, actions taken and preparedness for Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), the Group of Ministers took the following decisions:
- 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 13th March 2020 at the port of departure.
- 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 may contact the nearest Indian Mission.
- 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. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on 13th March 2020 at the port of departure.
- 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 quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.
- International traffic through land borders will be restricted to Designated check posts with robust screening facilities. These will be notified separately by M/o Home Affairs.
- 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.
Covid-19 preventive measures for Malaysian gurdwaras (Asia Samachar, 11 March 2020)