WHO declares COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, India suspends all tourist visas till April 15
New Delhi, Mar 12: In a bid to contain the spread of noval corona virus, India has suspended all regular visas till April 15. The move comes in the wake of Coronavirus scare as the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared COVID19 a 'pandemic'.
The suspension will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13 at the port of departure.
All existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/International Organizations, employment, project visas, stand suspended till the said date, said a statement issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare late on Wednesday.
Apart from this all incoming travelers, including Indians, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany after February 15, 2020 will be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days, it said.
Visas of all foreigners already in India remain valid.
Foreign national who needs to travel to India for compelling reason may contact the nearest Indian Mission, the release said,
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.
The government also advised the incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, to avoid non-essential travel and told them that they can be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days on their arrival in India.
"Indian nationals are strongly advised to avoid all non-essential travel abroad. On their return, they can be subjected to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days," it said.
Apart from this and in continuation with earlier advisories, the health ministry said a 14-day quarantine was mandatory for all travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain and Germany after February 15.
The move comes in the wake of spike in Coronavirus. India registered more than 60 cases, out of which 16 are Italian tourists while the remaining are Indians.
WHO declares coronavirus a pandemic
The new coronavirus outbreak can now be described as a pandemic, the head of the World Health Organization announced on Wednesday.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was troubled by the spread and severity of the outbreak, along with a lack of action taken to combat it.
"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," he told a news conference in Geneva.
"We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic."
The number of cases in over 100 countries around the world has risen to more than 124,000, with over 4,500 deaths, including a jump in fatalities in Iran and Italy in particular