India suspends visas to contain the spread of COVID-19

Photo: WAM

 India tonight announced new, far-reaching steps to contain the spread of Coronavirus or COVID-19 by suspending all visas for inbound travel except diplomatic, official and a few other categories.

"All existing visas, except diplomatic, official, United Nations and other international organisations, employment, project visas, stand suspended till 15th April 2020," the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a late night statement.

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

The latest order means UAE nationals who have been planning to travel to India will have to postpone their travel until April 15 as of now. UAE passport-holders were eligible so far to get visas on arrival in India.

Overseas citizens of India, OCI, will also not be allowed to board planes bound for India till tonight’s order is revoked. OCI is a category of people of Indian origin who have changed their nationality and are given special passport-like cards that allow them to travel without the need for visas into India.

Simultaneously, Indians have been advised by their government to avoid travelling abroad. The authorities here said Indians arriving at airports in India may be subject to 14 days quarantine as a preventive measure.

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