New Delhi: As a precautionary measure, the Government of India has cancelled all visas for travellers from China on Tuesday. This decision comes amid the outbreak of the coronavirus virus that originated in the country. The virus has so far killed over 400 people. On Sunday, India had stopped the online visa facility for Chinese travellers and foreigners in China due to the outbreak.
The Indian Embassy in China clarified that it had got queries from many Chinese citizens, as well as foreigners who are based there or have visited China in the last two weeks. They mostly wanted to know whether they can use their valid single or multiple entry visas to travel to India. “It is made clear that existing visas are no longer valid,” the embassy said.
Those travellers (whose visas have been cancelled) and still want to visit India have been advised to contact the Embassy in Beijing or the consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou for fresh visa issuance.
Meanwhile, foreign visitors from China who are already in India (either on a regular or an e-visa, and had travelled from that country after January 15, must contact the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, according to an advisory.
Coronavirus has spread to nearly 25 countries, including India. In China, at least 425 people have died till date and nearly 20,500 people have been infected with the virus. Philippines have also reported one death.
The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global health emergency on the last week. In a pre-emptive move, several countries have already banned flights to and from China, restricted travel, and in some cases, closed their borders with that country.
The virus originated in a live seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December and the first infection was reported in January.
In India, three positive cases have been reported from three Indians from Kerala who recently returned from the Chinese city of Wuhan. In fact, Wuhan is believed to be the epicentre of the virus outbreak. At least, 600 Indians and seven people from Maldives were evacuated from Wuhan and Hubei province and are quarantined at a medical camp in Manesar.
Apart from all these measures India has put all its airports and docks on high alert and have posted special medical teams to screen all travellers coming from China in particular or those who may have initial symptoms.