The Indian government has decided to virtually quarantine the nation from the rest of the world by suspending all visas, except those issued for diplomatic, official, UN-international organisations, employment and projects until April 15.
The new decision comes into effect from March 13 in line with the rapid spread of Covid-19 across continents, and WHO formally terming the disease a pandemic.
The exception to the abeyance is recommended for personnel from agencies like WHO or UN and those held to be important for Indian firms or government projects.
Visa-free travel facility to Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders will be suspended till the same date. Any foreign national seeking to travel to India has to state a compelling reason to an Indian mission.
The decisions were announced after a group of ministers headed by health minister Harsh Vardhan met on 11 March to review the Covid-19 situation domestically and abroad.
Though the numbers in India are going up incrementally, the spread of the virus to more than 100 countries spurred the government’s decision to opt for significantly isolating India as a measure to fight against the threat.
“This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13 at the port of departure,” the new advisory said.
The advisory has announced that all incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain and Germany after February 15 will be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has declared the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India to have touched 60 on 11th March with 10 new cases – eight from Kerala and one each from Rajasthan and Delhi.