The ministry of health has published a travel advisory for Indian citizens, asking them to refrain from traveling to China, Iran, Republic of Korea, Italy and Japan. According to the statement: “Indian citizens are advised to refrain from travel to China, Iran, Republic of Korea, Italy and Japan and advised to avoid non-essential travel to other COVID-19 affected countries. In addition to visa restrictions already in place, passengers traveling from /having visited Italy or Republic of Korea and desirous of entering India will need certificate of having tested negative for COVID-19 from the designated laboratories authorized by the health authorities of these countries. This will be enforced from 00:00 hours of March 10, 2020, and is a temporary measure till cases of COVID-19 subside.”
Even as restrictions on overseas tourists rose, Japan lodged a strong protest with India over its decision to cancel all e-visas to Japanese nationals in view of coronavirus cases. Japan issued a demarche to India seeking review of its decision to cancel e-visas to Japanese nationals. In its demarche, Japan took strong note of India’s decision to club Japanese nationals along with people from other countries ignoring strong bilateral ties between the two nations. Sources in the government said India’s decision to cancel e-visas of people from several countries was taken with the sole purpose of containing potential risks of the virus spreading in India. They said India is unlikely to review its decision soon.
India had suspended all regular visas/e-visas granted on or before March 3 to nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan as part of measures to check spread of coronavirus in the country. The regular/e-visas granted to people from Italy, Iran, Japan and South Korea were suspended after these countries reported rising number of coronavirus cases. The e-visas granted to people from these four countries who have not yet entered India were also suspended with immediate effect. India had suspended regular/e-visas granted on or before February 5 to Chinese nationals and the restriction is continuing.
India has 31 confirmed cases of the coronavirus infection while nearly 29,000 people have been put under surveillance on suspicion of infection or as part of precautionary measures.
-Inputs from PTI