China on Thursday temporarily suspended the entry of people from India, including foreign nationals travelling from the country, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, stating that Indians holding valid Chinese visas or residence permits will not be allowed to enter the country.
A statement by the Chinese embassy in New Delhi said that the country’s consulates and the embassy will not stamp health declaration forms for those who hold certain categories of visa or residence permits.
“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s hereby announced that China has decided to temporarily suspend the entry into China by foreign nationals in India holding valid Chinese visas or residence permits,” the statement said. “The suspension is a temporary measurement that China has to adopt to deal with the current pandemic.”
It stated, “China will make further adjustment and announcement in accordance with the ongoing pandemic situation in a timely manner.”
“Foreigners with emergency or humanitarian needs to visit China, can submit visa application to the Chinese Embassy/Consulates in India,” it said.
According to Chinese media reports, nationals of the UK, Belgium and the Philippines are also not allowed to enter China.
Foreigners holding diplomatic, service, courtesy and C visas are not affected by the decision. Also, the entry into China with visas issued after November 3 is not affected, the embassy stated.
Responding to the decision, sources in the government said the Chinese embassy’s announcement indicates that it is just a temporary measure, and that changes can be expected in a “timely manner”. They said that future visa applications have not been banned, and that visas issued after November 3 were valid for travel to China.
However, New Delhi is in touch with Beijing to facilitate essential travel of Indians to and from China, they said. Sources also said that China possibly took the step due to the “rise in Covid-19 cases globally, aggravated by the advent of autumn and winter in the northern hemisphere”.
Separately, India has also been discussing the issue of running repatriation flights to China under the ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ (VBM), which has been turned down by Beijing. The Indian embassy in China had announced earlier that the first VBM Delhi-Wuhan-Delhi flight, scheduled for November 6, had been “rescheduled”.
“With regard to the planned VBM flight on 6 November from Delhi-Wuhan-Delhi, the embassy has not received the required clearances from the Chinese authorities, who have indicated that more discussions are required in order to process the clearances. The proposed flight on 6 November is, therefore, being rescheduled,” the Indian embassy statement said.
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