The World Health Organisation has declared that Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a pandemic. WHO reported 1,73,280 cases of Coronavirus in 114 countries and 6,600 deaths. Strict travel restrictions are being imposed around the world. Here’s an update for Indian travellers.
India On Self-Quarantine
India has reported 129 cases of COVID-19 and two confirmed deaths. The Central government announced new travel advisories, suspending all existing visas for foreign nationals till April 15. These don’t include diplomatic, official or UN/International Organisation visas. OCI card holders will also not be granted visas. For urgent travel to India, travellers will have to visit the Indian embassy in their region.
In addition, all travellers, including Indians, coming from China, Italy, Iran, Spain, South Korea, France and Germany will be quarantined for 14 days. The Health Ministry warns against non-essential foreign travel to Indian nationals and anyone travelling back to the country may be quarantined.
What’s Happening Around The World
Europe has become the epicentre of the virus after China. Badly affected Italy extended the lockdown to the entire nation; 60 million people are under quarantine to stop the spread of novel Coronavirus. It has already affected more than 24,000 people and killed around 1,800. The Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has ordered closure of all shops other than pharmacies and supermarkets. The country is shut down and tourism is badly impacted with flights cancelled and hotels closed.
Spain saw a surge in cases, to 9,190 and 309 deaths, and also locked down completely. The population of 47 million has been asked to stay at home. Normal life has halted in France as well with 5,423 cases and 127 deaths. President Emmanuel Macron has appealed to the public to stay at home and cafes, schools, and public places have closedown.
Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Switzerland have also imposed border controls. Germany is the latest country to seal its borders. It has 5,813 confirmed cases and 13 reported deaths. Schools and restaurants in the Netherlands are closed.
US President Donald Trump has suspended all travels from Europe to the US (except UK) for a month. There have been 3,000 cases in the US with 68 reported deaths. The states have banned large gatherings and companies are asking employees to work from home. Hollywood actor Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson have announced that they have been infected by COVID-19 in Australia. Basketball player also tested positive, so the NBA has suspended its season. More than 30 millions children are out of school and bars, restaurants and entertainment venues have closed for business after appeals for social distancing.
Meanwhile, Japan has said that cancelling the Tokyo Olympics 2020, scheduled for July 24, isn’t possible. The games will go on as scheduled. They will follow the advisory from WHO, but there will be no change of plans.
Kenya has blocked entry to foreign nationals and shut schools. Ireland has closed pubs. Manila is closed. Vietnam is screening aggressively. Qatar has also tightened entry. Coronavirus has reached all parts of the world and there are closures everywhere.
Best course of action for Indian travellers right now? Do not travel.
More information here.
Featured Image: The Economic Times