India extends ban on foreign visas, passengers through immigration check-posts

NEW DELHI (Xinhua) – India’s federal home ministry said the suspension of existing Indian visas given to foreign nationals barring certain categories has been extended until May 3 of this year.

The government had ordered the suspension of visas in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

“In the wake of continuing COVID-19 outbreak in the country, Union Ministry for Home Affairs (MHA) has decided to extend the suspension of all existing visas granted to foreigners, except to those belonging to diplomatic, official, United Nations (UN)/international organisations, employment and project categories, until May 3,” reads an order issued by home ministry on Friday evening.

The ministry has also said passenger traffic coming from 107 immigration check-posts will also remain suspended till May 3.

“MHA has further directed that all incoming passenger traffic into India through any of the 107 Immigration Check Posts shall remain suspended until May 3,” reads the order issued by the ministry. “However, no such restriction would apply to vehicles, planes, ships, conveyance and trains carrying any goods and supplies whether essential or non-essential.”

The ministry, however, said their crew, sailor, driver, helper and cleaner shall be subjected to thorough medical screening for COVID-19.

A nationwide lockdown which was announced in India on March 25. However, it was extended this week until May 3 in the wake of the increasing number of cases and deaths.

Saturday marks the 25th straight day of ongoing lockdown across the country announced by the government to contain the spread of the pandemic.

India’s Federal Health Ministry yesterday said the death toll due to COVID-19 in India rose to 480 and the total number of confirmed cases in the country reached 14,378.