India suspends visas to tourists until April 15 amid Coronavirus

The Indian government has suspended all visas to India as the cases of coronavirus in the country sharply spiked and the World Health Organisation declared it a pandemic.

Altogether, 67 people in India are infected, a chunk of them are a group of tourists from Italy.

The Union health ministry said all existing visas — except diplomatic, official, UN/International organisations, employment and project visas — will be suspended till April 15.

“This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on 13th March 2020 at the port of departure,” read a communique issued after a meeting of a Group of Ministers headed by health minister Dr Harshvardhan. Visa facilities had been partially suspended earlier from the COVID-19 nations, countries where the virus is on a rampage.

It also said all incoming travellers, including Indian nationals from COVID-19 nations – China Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany shall be quarantined 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,” the statement added.

The announcement comes just as the World Health Organisation has declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic, meaning a disease that has spread worldwide and affected huge number of people.