India enhances health screenings and travel restrictions for passengers from countries affected by 2019 novel coronavirus, as of Feb. 6.

Severity: Informational Alert

This alert began 06 Feb 2020 07:54 GMT and is scheduled to expire 17 Feb 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Enhanced health screenings, travel restrictions
  • Location(s): India (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Entry restrictions, flight disruptions, longer immigration wait times, quarantine measures; possible commercial disruptions

Summary
India has bolstered measures to prevent and control the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that has significantly affected Wuhan, Hubei Province, and other areas in China, along with several other Asian countries. India has confirmed at least three imported cases of the illness as of Feb. 6.

Authorities are enforcing the following:

  • Entry Restrictions: Effective Feb. 5, foreign nationals with a travel history to mainland China since Jan. 15 will not be allowed entry from any air, sea, or land port. Authorities have also suspended electronic visa issuance and online visa application for Chinese passport holders - excluding nationals of Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan - as well as travelers with current residential address in mainland China. All previously granted electronic and regular visas stand canceled for such travelers; they must appear in person before an Indian consulate to apply for a visa. Medical certification prior to air travel will likely be mandatory.
  • Enhanced Screening: Officials have enhanced health checks at all air, sea, and land ports, especially for those with a travel history to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand since Jan. 15.
  • Quarantine Measures: Effective Feb. 5, all passengers from mainland China, regardless of symptoms, will be quarantined at home or in a medical facility for at least 14 days; those with a travel history since Jan. 15 to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand may also be quarantined. Passengers from other affected countries may also be subject to such measures in the coming weeks.
  • Flight Cancellations: At least two airlines - Air India and IndiGo Airlines - have enforced or announced the cancellation of flight operations to and from destinations in mainland China and Hong Kong.


India could expand its response in the coming days, particularly if the number of cases in-country increases. The measures are unlikely to impact most travelers except passengers from mainland China. Increased health screenings are likely to result in increased wait times at international airports and some land border crossings. Although unlikely, possible closures of land borders, mainly with Bhutan, Nepal, and Myanmar, may prompt commercial disruptions in the coming weeks.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Confirm entry requirements, visa validity, and travel reservations before checking out of accommodation, if traveling from mainland China or any other country affected by the 2019-nCoV. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings at all ports of entry. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with the 2019-nCoV, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.