India self-quarantines in fight against COVID-19, suspends all tourist visas till April 15

Photo courtesy: Twitter/@MoHFW_INDIA
Photo courtesy: Twitter/@MoHFW_INDIA

India has decided to take strict measures in a bid to fight the rapid spread of the COVID-19 infection that has affected over 115,000 people around the world. The Indian government has announced the temporary suspension of all tourist visas till April 15. 

As of March 11, there were 67 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in India, which includes 16 Italian tourists. The Union health ministry said all existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/International organisations, employment and project visas, will be suspended till April 15. 

"This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on 13th March 2020 at the port of departure," read a statement issued late Wednesday night after a meeting of a group of ministers headed by health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan. 

Additionally, the Health Ministry has said: 

  • Visa free travel facility granted to OCI card holders is kept in abeyance till April 15, 2020. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13, 2020 at the port of departure
  • All incoming travellers, including Indian nationals from COVID-19 nations – China Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany – after February 15, shall be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days
  • Foreign nationals who need to travel to India for compelling reasons are advised to contact their nearest Indian Mission

The group of ministers meeting was chaired by the Health Minister with Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar, MoS Home Nityananda Rai, MoS (I/c) Mansukh Mandaviya and MoS Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Choubey in attendance.