NEW DELHI: The government on Sunday issued a new travel advisory asking the people to refrain from travelling to China and added that those returning from there could be quarantined in view of the Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak.
In its advisory, the Health Ministry said anyone with a travel history of China since January 15 could be quarantined. The decision was taken at a high-level review meeting held by the Cabinet Secretary on the preparedness to deal with the health crisis.
As on Sunday, 58,658 passengers from 445 flights were screened for nCoV symptom. A total of 142 symptomatic travellers were referred to isolation facilities, government sources said. So far, India has reported two positive cases of nCoV from Kerala. Earlier in the day, the Ministry of External Affairs suspended online visa facility for China with immediate effect. This applies to holders of Chinese passports and applicants of other nationalities residing in the People’s Republic of China.
“Due to certain current developments, travel to India on e-visas stands temporarily suspended with immediate effect,” the Indian Embassy in Beijing announced. “Holders of already issued e-visas may note that these are no longer valid,” it said. “All those who have a compelling reason to visit India may contact the Embassy of India in Beijing or the Indian consulates in Shanghai or Guangzhou, as well as the Indian Visa Application Centres there,” it said.
Meanwhile, Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri thanked the Chinese Foreign Ministry and local authorities in Hubei for their assistance in the evacuation. “The 2nd Air India flight from Wuhan has just taken off for Delhi with 323 Indian citizens on board. 7 Maldives citizens are also being evacuated,” the ambassador tweeted. Misri also congratulated two officers for their efforts in the evacuation process.
"A special word of appreciation for two of our officers who are on board the plane — Deepak Padmakumar and M Balakrishnan — they showed exemplary fortitude and a real spirit of public service by traveling to ground zero in Wuhan to coordinate airport arrangements. Kudos to both (sic),” he said.
An Air India flight carrying 323 Indians and seven Maldivians from Wuhan, the epicenter of Novel Coronavirus outbreak in China, landed at Delhi airport on Sunday morning.
“7 Maldivians brought back with 323 Indians from Wuhan on the second @airindiain flight today. #NeighbourhoodFirst at work again,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted. Due to the outbreak, IndiGo has suspended all three flights between India and China.