Restrictions on Travel Imposed by the Indian Government on Account of COVID-19

The Ministry of Health and Welfare issued a Standard Operating Practice (SOP) for airport screening of COVID-19 based on a categorization of passengers coming into India from China, Democratic Republic of Korea, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Iran”.

The SOP classifies passengers into three risk categories:

(i) Category A (High Risk): A passenger with fever, cough, shortness of breath, with a history of travel to, or residence in, a country/area or territory reporting local transmission of COVID-19 disease during the 14 days prior to symptom onset; or a patient with any acute respiratory illness who has also been in contact with a COVID-19 patient in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms

(ii) Category B (Moderate Risk): An asymptomatic passenger coming from China, the Democratic Republic of Korea, France Germany, Spain, Italy, Iran who is also elderly (above 60 years of age) hypertensive, diabetic, and/or asthmatic

(iii) Category C (Low Risk): An asymptomatic passenger coming from any COVID-19 affected country, including passengers coming from China, Democratic Republic of Korea, France Germany, Spain, Italy, and Iran.

The Government of India has taken several measures with respect to cross-border passengers travelling to or from India, in order to contain the spread of the disease. All the detailed measures along with FAQs can be accessed at http://tourism.gov.in/covid-19-travel-advisory

The Ministry of Home Affairs also issued various visa restrictions. As of 13 March 2020, all visas except a few categories (diplomats and employment visas) have been suspended till 15 April 2020.

Indian nationals who wish to return to India will be quarantined for 14 days if they have visited certain countries (China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Spain, France and Germany) on or after February 2020. However, this does not apply to passengers who transited through these countries. Foreigners currently in India can extend their visas to avoid international travel. They can also leave the country and return back, but if they wish to return before 15 April, they would require fresh visas.

All types of passenger movements through all the immigration land check posts located at India-Bangladesh border, India-Nepal border, India-Bhutan border, India-Myanmar border have been suspended until further notice. The restrictions imposed are on foreign nationals.

The Bureau of Immigration has also issued instructions regarding visa and other general travel restrictions to avoid unnecessary travel at this point in time. India has also banned travel from EU and the UK to tighten its preventive measures.

(Restrictions on travel change periodically – please refer to https://www.mohfw.gov.in/travel_ad.html for the latest information. Also, check back in at https://allaboutcovid2020.blogspot.com/ for updates)

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