DAYS AFTER it evacuated 647 Indians from Hubei province of China, New Delhi on Tuesday cancelled all existing valid visas for Chinese and foreigners who visited the country in the last two weeks.
On February 2, India had temporarily suspended e-visa facility for Chinese travellers and foreigners residing in China in view of the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.
In its announcement on Tuesday, the Indian Embassy in Beijing said, “All those who are already in India (with regular or e-visa) and had travelled from China after January 15 are requested to contact the hotline number of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of Government of India (+91-11-23978046 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org.”
On the validity of the visas, it said: “Embassy of India and our Consulates have been receiving several queries from Chinese citizens as well as other foreign nationals, who are based out of China or visited China in the last two weeks, as to whether they can use their valid single/ multiple entry visas to travel to India… It is clarified that existing visas are no longer valid. Intending visitors to India should contact the Indian Embassy in Beijing (email@example.com) or the Consulates in Shanghai (Ccons.firstname.lastname@example.org) and Guangzhou (Visa.email@example.com) to apply afresh for an Indian visa. Indian Visa Application Centres (www.blsindia-china.com) in these cities may also be contacted in this regard.”
The visa section of the Embassy/ Consulates of India in China can be contacted to ascertain the validity of visa before undertaking any visit to India, it said.
Meanwhile, Chinese health authorities said on Tuesday that the death toll has risen to 425, with 64 deaths on Monday, and the number of those infected has touched 20,438.
The virus has spread to over 25 countries — India has reported three cases so far. All the three patients from Kerala recently returned from Wuhan.
Currently, 647 Indians and seven Maldivians, who were evacuated, have been quarantined at a medical camp in Manesar, near Delhi.
Earlier, India had asked its citizens to “refrain” from travelling to China, and had suspended travel on e-visas for those with Chinese passports and others residing in China.
As New Delhi evacuated Indians, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke to Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. China’s Ambassador to India, Sun Weidong, had quoted Wang as telling Jaishankar during the phone conversation that “all should play a constructive role. We don’t think it is helpful for a certain country to hype up the situation, or even create panic”.
Sun had quoted Jaishankar as saying that “it is important to evaluate the outbreak in an objective and rational manner and not take action that may complicate the situation”.
“At yesterday’s briefing on the novel coronavirus outbreak, the WHO does not recommend travel or trade restrictions against China. We believe that India and other countries will respect this important recommendation, Wang Yi said,” the Chinese envoy had said on February 1.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines