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Given that all my family lives in India, I have been following the COVID-19 developments fairly closely. India’s response to the pandemic has been measured and calculated. Today’s announcement of the Revised Advisory for Travel to India seems to reflect that the emergency response has shifted gears rather intensely, with blanket suspension of Visas for Indian and foreign nationals. The new travel restrcitions from India will come into effect on March 13, 2020. Airlines will certainly respond to this revised advisory by reducing the frequency of flight services to the country, I expect announcements will start flowing in the next few hours.
Here is the excerpt from the revised advisory, from the Consulate General of India in Toronto;
Revised Advisory for Travel to India
In the wake of Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), Government of India has taken the following decisions:
All existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/International Organizations, employment, project visas, stand suspended till 15 April 2020. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on 13 March 2020 at the port of departure.
Visa free travel facility granted to OCI card holders is kept in abeyance till 15 April 2020. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on 13 March 2020 at the port of departure.
Any foreign national who intends to travel to India for compelling reason may contact the nearest Indian Embassy / High Commission / Consulate.
All incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany after 15 February, 2020 shall be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on 13th March 2020 at the port of departure.
Incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, are advised to avoid non-essential travel and are informed 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.
International traffic through land borders will be restricted to Designated check posts with robust screening facilities. These will be notified separately by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Provision for testing primarily for students / compassionate cases in Italy to be made and collection for samples to be organized accordingly. Those tested negative will be allowed to travel and will be quarantined on arrival in India for 14 days.
As of today, India has officially confirmed 68 cases of COVID-19 in the country. While the travel advisory falls short of an outright ban, the Health Ministry in India has tagged the advisory as a precautionary measure, one that clearly discourages Indian nationals from undertaking any non-essential travel to/from India. Anyone with a compelling reason to travel has been asked to contact the nearest Indian mission for further advice.
As I am writing this post, Mr. Trump has announced suspension of all travel from Europe (except UK) to US. Tom Hanks has contracted the virus, and NBA has suspended the season. I can’t keep up. Bonkers.
Featured Image: Coronavirus has no race, by visuals on Unsplash
Great information. Thank for this information about travel with OCI card. Keep sharing
I’m in Mumbai right now. I can tell you people are taking precautions but it kinda seems normal here. Malls, restaurants, corporate offices are still packed, still lots of traffic on the street, people are still traveling within the country. Don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing, with regards to the spread of the virus, but it seems like just another day. 🙂
That sounds very Mumbai 🙂 Personally, am glad to see the precautions being put in place. Especially as states like Kerela and Karnataka exercise their own restrictions, internally. Have some friends reporting back on the airport hotels being used as quarantine locations for passengers…
Theres a lot of panic, which IMO seems mostly misplaced. What is shocking is the elitism on display where the elites are insisting on checking all domestic help etc as they enter buildings, all while the elites are travelling to and from Delhi and locations out of the country
NB : I work in Real Estate Services and one part of our business is Facility Management for residential buildings