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The restrictions come on a day when the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared coronavirus as a pandemic. It has already spread to over a 100 countries, many of which are seeing travel restrictions. Italy, for instance is under complete lockdown…reports Asian Lite News

Air India. (File Photo: IANS) by .
Air India. (File Photo: IANS)

In an unprecedented lockdown for Covid-19, India on Wednesday notified cancellation of all non-official visas to curb incoming traffic and advised against all non-essential travel abroad which also curbs outgoing travel.

The Bureau of Immigration under the Home Ministry notified the new norms hours after a high powered Group of Ministers finalised sweeping travel restrictions in the wake of growing cases of Covid-19.

The wide ranging lockdown which seeks to control entry and exit of people in the country is an unprecedented step which suggests that drastic measures are being deployed amid a possible escalation in the spread of Covid-19 cases across many states.

Most of the cases being found bear the footprint of a travel history abroad to countries affected by Covid-19.

The restrictions come on a day when the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared coronavirus as a pandemic. It has already spread to over a 100 countries, many of which are seeing travel restrictions. Italy, for instance is under complete lockdown.

 by . The new norms for travel will have serious repercussions for the economy, aviation, travel, hospitality, consumer sentiment, exports and services sectors among other sectors and business is likely to take a back seat as precautions take centre-stage.

In another drastic measure, the Indian government has decided that all states should be advised to invoke provisions of Section 2 of Epidemic Disease Act, 1897 which was enacted in the British era to enforce all advisories.

All States/UTs should be advised by Union Health Ministry to invoke provisions of Section 2 of Epidemic Disease Act, 1897 so that all advisories being issued from time to time by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare/State/UTs are enforceable.

Section 2 of the 1897 Act gives the power to take special measures and prescribe regulations as to dangerous epidemic disease.

Stepping up the border control measures as Covid 19 cases are going up, India on Wednesday cancelled all visas except few official categories till April 15. Even outgoing travel is being cautioned against and a minimum of 14 days quarantine will be subjected.

Amritsar: Factory workers wear masks before going to work, as a precautionary measure against the deadly Coronavirus, in Amritsar on March 8, 2020. (Photo: IANS) by .
Factory workers wear masks before going to work, as a precautionary measure against the deadly Coronavirus, in Amritsar. (Photo: IANS)

An official statement said that all existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/International Organizations, employment, project visas, stand suspended till April 15. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13 at the port of departure.

The visa free travel facility granted to OCI card holders is kept in abeyance till April 15. Any foreign national who intends to travel to India for compelling reason may contact the nearest Indian Mission. This would essentially curb the inflow of foreign nationals in the country with visa controls.

All incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain and Germany after February 15 will be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days. All these measures are applicable from March 13.

Bengaluru: People seen wearing masks as a precautionary measure against Coronavirus, in Bengaluru on March 4, 2020. (Photo: IANS) by .
People seen wearing masks as a precautionary measure against Coronavirus, in Bengaluru. (Photo: IANS)

Incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, are advised to avoid non-essential travel and are informed that they can be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days on their arrival in India.

Indian nationals are strongly advised to avoid all non-essential travel abroad. On their return, they can be subjected to quarantine 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 by Ministry of Home Affairs.

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