India maintains health screenings and travel restrictions for passengers from countries affected by 2019 novel coronavirus, as of Feb. 19.
Severity: Warning Alert
This alert began 19 Feb 2020 07:34 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: Entry restrictions, flight disruptions, longer immigration wait times, quarantine measures; possible commercial disruptions
India has bolstered measures to prevent and control the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that has significantly affected Wuhan, Hubei Province, and other areas in China, along with several other Asian countries. All three confirmed cases of the illness in India have recovered as of Feb. 19; several hundreds remain in quarantine as a precaution.
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 addresses 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, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, 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 or transit history since Jan. 15 to Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand will be advised to self-quarantine at home for 28 days after arrival in India; the advisory relates to minimizing outdoor activity to the extent possible, monitoring health status closely, as well as avoiding public events and large gatherings. Local health officials typically follow up with such travelers via phone and possible visits; the guideline applies to all states and union territories. Symptomatic travelers may be isolated in designated public medical facilities for at least 14 days. 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. Other flights serving countries affected by COVID-19 may be canceled or curtailed in case of low demand.
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 affected countries, especially mainland China, as well as those with flu-like symptoms. 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.
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.