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Thursday, 12 March, 2020, 09 : 15 AM [IST]

Big blow to T&T as India suspends all tourist visas till April 15 to contain spread of Covid-19

Citizens advised to avoid all non-essential overseas travel
The government has suspended all visas to India as the cases of coronavirus in the country sharply spiked and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a “pandemic”. Altogether, 67 people in India are infected, a chunk of them are a group of tourists from Italy.

The Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare 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 communique issued late Wednesday night after a meeting of a Group of Ministers in New Delhi headed by Health Minister, Dr Harshvardhan.

Visa-free travel facility granted to OCI card holders is also kept in abeyance till April 15.

Any foreign national who intends to travel to India for compelling reason may contact the nearest Indian Mission, the release said, adding that all incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany after February 15 will be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days.

"International traffic through land borders will be restricted to designated Immigration Checkposts with robust medical screening facilities. These will be notified separately by Ministry of Home Affairs...  Moreover, all Indian nationals are strongly advised to avoid all non-essential travel abroad. On their return they can be subjected to quarantine for a minimum period of 14 days," the communique reads.
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