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India temporarily closes door on nationals of France, Germany and Spain

NEW DELHI: Amid the rising cases of coronavirus affliction, India on Tuesday barred entry of the nationals of three more countries, France, Germany and Spain, suspending the regular as well as e-Visas granted to them till date, if they have not yet entered the country.

“All regular (sticker) Visas/e-Visas granted to nationals of France, Germany and Spain and issued on or before March 11 and who have not yet entered India stand suspended with immediate effect,” said a Bureau of Immigration notification issued late Tuesday night.

Regular visas, including e visas, granted to all foreign nationals who have travel history to these countries on or after February 1 and who have not yet entered India also stands suspended, it said.

The notification also strongly urged Indian citizens to refrain from travelling to France, Spain and Germany, besides the other countries they were advised earlier to avoid.

The new notification was issued shortly after Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Tuesday held a high-level meeting of secretaries of various ministries and departments, grappling to contain the spread of the deadly Covid-19.

The meeting was held to review the status, actions, preparedness and management of COVID-19 cases in the country, an official statement of Union Health Ministry said after the meeting.

With more than 100 countries across the world now having reported cases of COVID-19, the Union Health Ministry, in its advisory, also urged citizens returning from abroad to self-monitor their health and follow the recommended do’s and dont’s.

The advisory also called for passengers with travel history to China, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Japan, Italy, Thailand, Singapore, Iran, Malaysia, France, Spain and Germany to undergo self-imposed quarantine for a period of 14 days from the date of their arrival, and their employers to facilitate work-from-home for such employees during this period.

India had already suspended visas granted till to the nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan and China.

Visas of all foreigners already in India remain valid and they may contact the nearest FRRO/FRO through e-FRRO module for extension or conversion of their visa or grant of any consular service, if they choose to do so, the ministry said in its statement.

A total of 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the country, till now, the ministry’s statement said.

After 44 positive cases declared on Monday, three more positive cases were reported from Bengaluru with travel history from the US via Dubai, another one from Bengaluru with travel history from US via Heathrow and two other positive cases from Pune with travel history from Dubai.

Of the 50 cases reported in India, 34 cases are of Indian nationals while 16 other are of Italians, the Union Health Ministry statement said.

It added that two deaths reported from Murshidabad and Ladakh on Monday were both found to be negative for COVID-19.

More than 1,400 contacts have been put under surveillance for these positive cases, till date, the statement said, adding that 404 Indians, who came in contact of the US citizen found positive for COVID-19 in Bhutan, have been identified and put under surveillance in Assam.

Additionally, the first batch of 58 evacuees from Iran arrived today with 25 men, 31 women and two children on board an IAF C-17 flight, which arrived on Tuesday morning.

All the evacuees are being monitored and clinically stable presently.

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