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Govt invalidates existing visas for foreigners travelling from China

Govt invalidates existing visas for foreigners travelling from China

New Delhi: In view of the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak in China, the government on Wednesday issued an updated travel advisory saying the existing visas (including e-visa already issued) are no longer valid for any foreign national travelling from China.

In the travel advisory, the Health Ministry again asked people to refrain from travelling to China in view of the coronavirus outbreak in its Hubei province and said travellers on return from the neighbouring country could be quarantined.

The coronavirus outbreak had claimed 491 lives in China till Tuesday, while the total number of those affected by the deadly virus stood at 24,324, according to Chinese health officials.

On February 2, India temporarily suspended e-visa facility for Chinese travellers and foreigners residing in China in view of the coronavirus outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Wednesday's advisory said anyone with travel history of China since January 15 could be quarantined.

"Intending visitors may contact Embassy in Beijing (visa.beijing@mea.gov.in) or the Consulates in Shanghai (Ccons.shanghai@mea.gov.in) and Guangzhou (Visa.guangzhou@mea.gov.in) to apply afresh for an Indian visa.

"The Indian Embassy in China continues to remain contactable 24x7 on two hotline numbers +8618610952903 & +8618612083629 and the dedicated email - helpdesk.beijing@mea.gov.in. Indian nationals in need of any assistance may get in touch with the Embassy on these hotlines and email," the advisory said. For any queries related to nCoV, people can call on the 24x7 helpline number +91-11-23978046 or email at ncov2019@gmail.com, it said.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Secretary held a high-level meeting to review the actions taken for the management of nCoV and preparedness of states.

The meeting was attended by secretaries of Health, External Affairs, Civil Aviation, Pharma, Dept of Health Research, Member Secretary of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), and other officials from Home, Commerce, Defence ministries and Army.

Health Ministry officials said a total of 741 samples were screened for nCoV, out of which 738 tested negative and three were found positive.

Besides, testing of 342 samples is under process, they said, adding that 5,123 people across the country are under home surveillance.

All three confirmed cases of nCoV in India have been reported from Kerala, where nearly 2,000 people are under observation in hospitals and homes.

The three persons, all natives of Kerala and medical students of Wuhan University, had recently returned to India.

On Tuesday, five people with suspected symptoms of nCoV were admitted to the isolation ward of RML Hospital here, sources said. Currently, there are 12 patients who have been admitted to the hospital with nCoV-like symptoms and their test reports are awaited, the hospital sources said.

On the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Group of Ministers (GoM) has been formed to review, monitor and evaluate the preparedness to contain the deadly nCoV infection in the country.

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