India suspends visas issued on or before March 3 for four countries

With two new cases of COVID-19 being detected in India on Monday, the government has issued a travel advisory suspending all regular visas and e-visas granted on or before March 3 to nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan who have not yet entered India.

Screening taking place at Kolkata airport. Photo courtesy: Twitter/aaikolairport
Screening taking place at Kolkata airport. Photo courtesy: Twitter/aaikolairport

The advisory also suspends visas on arrival (VoA) issued by March 3 to Japan and South Korea nationals who have not yet entered India.

The advisory says that anyone who needs to travel to India for compelling reasons will need to seek fresh visas from the nearest Indian Embassy/Consulate.

"Passengers of all international flights entering into India from any port are required to furnish duly filled self-declaration form (including personal particulars i.e. phone no. and address in India) and travel history, to health officials and immigration officials at all ports,” said the advisory.

"Passengers (foreign and Indian) other than those restricted, arriving directly or indirectly from China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand, Singapore and Taiwan must undergo medical screening at port of entry." 

Visas and e-visas granted to Chinese nationals on or before February 5 had already been suspended earlier. 

The advisory also added that diplomats, officials of the UN and other International bodies, Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cardholders and aircrew from the four countries are exempted from restriction on entry. However, medical screening for such individuals will be compulsory.

Also read: India enhances travel restrictions for countries, including Singapore, following new COVID-19 cases

Indian citizens have also been advised to refrain from travel to China, Iran, South Korea, Italy as well to avoid non-essential travel to other COVID-19 affected countries.

PM Modi says “no need to panic” about coronavirus

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter on Tuesday to help reassure citizens of the country about the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

"There is no need to panic. We need to work together, take small yet important measures to ensure self-protection," Modi tweeted as India confirmed two new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. 

The Prime Minister also said that he has reviewed the preparedness for the coronavirus in the country and that different ministries and states are working together to provide prompt medical attention.