Coronavirus: Visas issued for those travelling from China now invalid

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In a new travel advisory in light of the evolving scenario of the novel coronavirus (2019 nCoV), the Centre has declared that existing visas of any foreign national travelling from China are no longer valid.In a statement issued by the Press Information Bureau, the government informed that this includes e-visas that had already been issued. Any intending visitors must contact the Indian Embassy in Beijing (visa.beijing@mea.gov.in) or the Consulates in Shanghai (Ccons.shanghai@mea.gov.in) or Guangzhou (Visa.guangzhou@mea.gov.in) to apply afresh for an Indian visa, the statement informed.According to World Health Organization’s (WHO) latest situation report, the virus has infected up to 20,630 people globally, of which 20,471 are from China alone. China has seen 425 deaths due to the virus and one death has been confirmed from outside China. India currently has three confirmed cases from Kerala, but all three are reported to be stable.PrecautionsCoronavirus mimics the symptoms of common flu — cough, cold and shortness of breath — which may exacerbate into respiratory distress in form of pneumonia if the infection gets severe. The WHO has recommended avoiding close contact with those suffering from respiratory infections. It also recommends frequent hand-washing and avoiding unprotected contact with farm and wild animals.“The Indian Embassy in China continues to remain contactable 24×7 on two hotline numbers — +8618610952903 and +8618612083629 — and on 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 statement adds.The statement makes it clear that people have been advised to refrain from travelling to China and any person travelling from China will be quarantined.Review meetingThe Cabinet Secretary on Wednesday held a high-level meeting to review the actions taken to contain the spread of novel coronavirus and the preparedness of States for the same, with Secretaries of Health and Family Welfare, External Affairs, Civil Aviation, Pharmaceuticals, Department of Health Research, Member Secretary (NDMA), and other officials from Home, Commerce, Army and Defence Ministries.To understand more about the virus, one can contact the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on a 24×7 helpline number, +91-11-23978046, or email at ncov2019@gmail.com.

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