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Coronavirus: All visas to India suspended till Apr 15, WHO declares virus outbreak 'pandemic'

Coronavirus: All visas to India suspended till Apr 15, WHO declares virus outbreak 'pandemic'

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 11 Mar 2020, 06:10 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: In the wake of the sudden spike in the number of cases related to the novel Coronavirus, the Indian government on Wednesday issued a new travel advisory in which it suspended all visas to India till April 15.

As of Wednesday, 67 people have contracted the virus with a large number of them belonging to the tourist group from Italy.

In the sixth meeting of the GoM under the chairpersonship of Union Minister of Health & Family WelfareHarsh Vardhan, it was decided that: "All existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/International Organizations, employment, project visas, stand suspended till 15th April 2020. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on 13th March 2020 at the port of departure."

Any foreign national who intends to travel to India for compelling reason will have to contact the nearest Indian Mission.

All incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany after 15th Feb shall be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days.

Incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, have been advised to avoid non-essential travel.

"They are informed that they can be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days on their arrival in India," the advisory stated.

"International traffic through land borders will be restricted to Designated check posts with robust screening facilities. These will be notified separately by M/o 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," it added.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has  called the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus as "pandemic."

In a series of tweets, WHO wrote: "Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death-@DrTedros  #COVID19 #coronavirus"

"Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this #coronavirus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do"-@DrTedros #COVID19"

"We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a #coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled at the same time. WHO has been in full response mode since we were notified of the first cases"-
@DrTedros #COVID19

Of the 118,000 COVID19 cases reported globally in 114 countries, more than 90 percent of cases are in just four countries, the WHO observed.