The Ministry of Home Affairs, in its latest travel advisory amid coronavirus outbreak, has said all existing visas issued to nationals of any country will stand suspended till April 15. However, this would not apply to diplomats, officials, UN/international organisations, employment and project visas.
The restriction would come into effect from 1200 GMT (6:30 AM) on March 13 at the port of departure of any foreigner coming to India, according to Bureau of Immigration (BoI).
Visa of foreigners who are already in India will remain valid, the Bureau of Immigration added. Such foreign nationals may contact the nearest FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office) /FRO (Foreigners Registration Office) through e-FRRO module in order to extend or convert their visas.
The visa free travel facility granted to OCI card holders shall also be suspended till April 15. "Any foreign national who intends to travel to India for compelling reasons may contact nearest Indian Mission for fresh visa," BoI said.
The BoI also added, "All incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany, on or after February 15, 2020 will be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days."
In addition to this, "International traffic through land borders will be restricted to designated immigration checkposts with robust medical screening facilities," BoI said.
Concurrently, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has advised Indian nationals, who are living abroad , to avoid non-essential travel to India. On their return they can be subjected to quarantine for a minimum period of 14 days.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO), on Thursday, called the COVID-19 outbreak pandemic. "WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we're deeply concerned, both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic." WHO said in a press statement.
Coronavirus has spread in over 100 countries around the world. The deadly virus has impacted more than 124,000, with over 4,500 deaths. In India, over 60 people have been tested positive from coronavirus. China remains the worst-affected country with more than 80,000 confirmed cases and over 3,000 deaths.