As COVID-19 rapidly makes its way around the world and the WHO declares a global pandemic, the Government of India has decided to quarantine itself in an attempt to control the spread of the virus.
Unfortunately, you won’t be marvelling at the Taj on a trip to India over the next month or so, as from 12:00 GMT on Friday 13 March, all tourist and e-visas granted on or before 11 March will be suspended.
The exception for this rule is diplomatic, official, UN/international organisations, employment and project visas.
As it stands, the suspension will be until 15th April 2020.
A country in quarantine
The decision was announced after a group of ministers met to discuss the health situation both domestically and abroad.
Though the numbers in India are not skyrocketing out of control just yet, the speedy spread of the virus around the globe has spurred the government’s decision to opt for a “nuclear” response to isolate the country.
By suspending the visas, the government aims to protect Indian citizens by avoiding the import of infected cases from overseas. The decision, however, will impact air travel, business travel, trade, and tourism rather drastically.
Visa restrictions issued by Bureau of Immigration (BOI) after meeting of GoM on #COVID19 today.#SwasthaBharat #HelpUsToHelpYou @PMOIndia @drharshvardhan @AshwiniKChoubey @MIB_India @PIB_India @DG_PIB @MEAIndia @MoCA_GoI @shipmin_india @tourismgoi pic.twitter.com/dI8tNxihLW
— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) March 11, 2020
Indian nationals have also been strongly advised to refrain from “all non-essential travel abroad” and on their return, they can be subjected to a two-week quarantine.
Previous to this latest announcement, inbound passengers to India with travel history to China, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Japan, Italy, Thailand, Singapore, Iran, Malaysia, France, Spain, and Germany had to undergo self-imposed quarantine for a period of two weeks from the date of their arrival.
Wendy Wu Tours have advised that they have several groups travelling to India during this time and are working closely with airline partners and ground operators regarding customers impacted by this latest development.
“As always, our main priority is to ensure the health and wellbeing of our customers. Wendy Wu Tours acknowledges it is an extremely difficult time for agents and the industry. Please rest assured we are urgently working through all bookings and our team will be in touch with agents as soon as possible.”
Andrew Mulholland, Wendy Wu Managing Director.
The situation is constantly changing and not all the official websites have been updated yet.
Be sure to keep an eye on our Coronavirus Rolling Updates story for the latest on the developments.
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