News Alerts

11 Mar 2020 | 06:22 PM UTC

India: Government suspends all tourist visas March 13 – April 15 /update 9

India News Alert

India suspends all tourist visas from March 13 – April 15 amid COVID-19 outbreak; authorities close border with Myanmar March 11

TIMEFRAME expected from 3/11/2020, 12:00 AM until 4/1/2020, 11:59 PM (Asia/Kolkata). COUNTRY/REGION India

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Event

India announced that it would suspend all tourist visas from Friday, March 13, to Wednesday, April 15, to prevent further spread of the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Diplomatic, official, U.N., international organization, employment, and project visas will be exempted from the restriction.

The government released a general statement on Wednesday, March 11, advising Indian nationals against all nonessential travel abroad. Indian officials also announced on Wednesday that the country's border with Myanmar will be closed until further notice.

All foreigners have been prohibited from entering Sikkim state, and Kerala state has suspended all public functions, closed cinemas and primary schools, and declared a state of high alert.

As of March 11, there have been 68 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.

To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.

 

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