India suspends visas for Japan, Italy, Iran, S.Korea amid Covid-19 scare

04, Mar. 2020

Medics outside an isolation ward of the coronavirus at Gandhi Hospital in the southern Indian city  of Hyderabad on March 2, 2020. (PTI)
Medics outside an isolation ward of the coronavirus at Gandhi Hospital in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad on March 2, 2020. (PTI)

NEW DELHI, NNA- India has suspended visas granted on or before March 3 to applicants in Japan, Italy, Iran and South Korea as it detected more Covid-19 cases in the country.

The South Asian country extended entry restrictions on travelers from countries affected by the deadly coronavirus on Tuesday after positive cases in the country surged to six.

Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, revealed the number of Covid-19 positive cases in the country has touched 28 including 16 Italian tourists later in the day.

India stopped issuing visas to Chinese nationals on Feb. 5 after the virus killed many in the country following an outbreak in Wuhan city late last year.

However, people who need to travel to India “due to compelling reasons" may apply for a new visa from an Indian embassy or consulate, the government said in a statement.

India also had announced on Tuesday that apart from the three Covid-19 cases discovered earlier in the southern state of Kerala, three more cases had emerged bringing the total number of confirmed cases in India to six.

It also said six people suspected to have been seriously infected are awaiting test results. “All are in isolation and are stable,” said the ministry of health and family welfare on Tuesday.

Also, an Italian tourist was tested positive on Tuesday in the northern city of Jaipur. Twenty-one Italian travelers and three Indians who had contact with the Italian had been sent to a facility for testing, the ministry added.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on his official Twitter account Wednesday he won’t be celebrating the Holi festival, also referred as the “festival of colors” next Monday and Tuesday as “experts across the world have advised to reduce mass gatherings to avoid the spread of Covid-19 novel coronavirus. Hence, this year I have decided not to participate in any Holi Milan programme.”

As of Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 90,870 cases globally, with 1,922 new cases. The virus had killed 2,946 people in China while the death toll outside of China is 166 with 38 new fatalities.

WHO raised the risk level to "very high" worldwide as the contagion had spread to 72 countries. The new states which have just reported cases in the past 24 hours as of March 3 are Andorra, Jordan, Latvia, Morocco, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Tunisia.