India expands health screenings and travel restrictions for passengers from countries affected by COVID-19 as of Feb. 28.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 28 Feb 2020 04:55 GMT and is scheduled to expire 16 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Enhanced health screenings, travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Flight disruptions, longer immigration wait times, quarantine measures; possible commercial disruptions

India has bolstered measures to prevent and control the spread of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In addition to issuing advisories - against travel to China, and non-essential travel to Iran, Italy, Singapore, and South Korea - Indian authorities have suspended on-arrival visa issuance for Japanese and South Korean nationals as of Feb. 28.

Officials have banned entry for all foreign nationals with a travel history to mainland China since Jan. 15. Authorities have also suspended electronic visa issuance and online visa applications for mainland Chinese passport holders and travelers with current residential addresses in mainland China. Officials also canceled all previously granted electronic and regular visas; applicants must appear in person at an Indian consulate to apply for a visa.

Officials have enhanced health checks at all air, sea, and land ports. As of 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. Authorities are carrying out enhanced health monitoring for passengers with a travel history to Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. Health officials may continue to follow up on passengers from these countries, typically by phone, for up to the first 28 days of their stay in India. Symptomatic passengers will be subject to further checks and possible quarantine.

Officials have mandated indefinite flight suspensions to and from Iran, as of Feb. 28. At least two Indian air carriers - Air India and IndiGo Airlines - have suspended flight operations to mainland China and Hong Kong until June 30 and June 14, respectively. Low demand has also caused cancellations of flights between India and affected countries such as Singapore and Thailand. Further flight disruptions are possible, especially on routes with countries affected by COVID-19.

India could expand its response in the coming days, particularly if the number of in-country cases increases. The measures are unlikely to impact most travelers, except for passengers from affected countries, especially mainland China, and those with flu-like symptoms. Increased health screenings are likely to result in increased wait times at international airports and some land border crossings.

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 COVID-19. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings at all ports of entry. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with the COVID-19, 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.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Twitter:

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