China has decided to temporarily suspend the entry by foreign nationals from India even with valid visas or residence permits because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Chinese embassy in New Delhi said on Thursday. Indian government sources said that the order was not specific to India and Beijing, worried about COVID-19 cases, has issued similar orders for other countries. Those with visas issued after November 3 won’t be affected.
Visitors from Britain, France, Belgium, Bangladesh and the Philippines will face similar restrictions as well.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is hereby announced that China has decided to temporarily suspend the entry into China by foreign nationals in India holding valid Chinese visas or residence permits,” the embassy said in a note.
“The Chinese embassy/consulates in India will not stamp the health declaration forms for the holders of the above-mentioned categories of visa or residence permits,” it said.
The note, posted on the website of the embassy, clarified that foreigners holding Chinese “diplomatic, service, courtesy and C visas are not affected.”
“Foreigners with emergency or humanitarian needs to visit China can submit visa application to the Chinese embassy/consulates in India. The entry into China with visas issued after November 3rd is not affected,” it said.
The embassy said the suspension is a temporary measure that China has to adapt to deal with the current pandemic.
“China will make further adjustment and announcement in accordance with the ongoing pandemic situation in a timely manner,” it said.
Indian government sources said the measure was temporary and future visas will not be affected. “The measure is not India specific. It is noted that similar measures have been announced in respect of several other countries,” sources said.
“The reason behind the measure seems to be Chinese concerns on possible rise in COVID-19 cases globally, aggravated due to the advent of autumn and winter in the Northern Hemisphere. The Government of India is in touch with the Chinese side to facilitate essential travel of Indians to and from China,” they added.
India is the world’s second most-infected nation after the United States with more than 83 lakh COVID-19 cases. China where the virus originated late last year has largely brought its outbreak under control through tight travel restrictions and stringent health measures for anyone entering the country.
In March, as the virus ripped across the world, China shut its borders to all foreign nationals.
It gradually eased restrictions to allow those stranded overseas to return with special permission from its embassies, negative COVID-19 tests and a two-week quarantine on arrival.
(With inputs from agencies)