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Visas issued to foreign nationals coming from China cancelled: Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan speaks in the Rajya Sabha during the Budget session of Parliament, in New Delhi on February 7, 2020.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan speaks in the Rajya Sabha during the Budget session of Parliament, in New Delhi on February 7, 2020.   | Photo Credit: RSTV/PTI

Screening of passengers has been initiated since January 18 and this facility has now been extended to 21 airports.

India has cancelled all visas issued to foreign nationals coming from China as it stepped up efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus after several passengers showed suspected symptoms and were sent to isolation units, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in a suo motu statement in the Rajya Sabha on Friday.

“We have also asked people not to travel to China. Screening of passengers has been stepped up at 21 airports, as well as at 12 major seaports and at all minor ports. Also, screening is being done at all integrated checkpoints on the Nepal border after the Himalayan nation reported a confirmed case,” he said. 

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said 80 Indians remained in Wuhan, where the virus broke out. Among them were 10 students, who came to the airport with fever and who were not allowed to board the special Air India flight by the Chinese authorities. The remaining 70 have voluntarily stayed back.

When members asked whether Pakistan had sought India for help in evacuating its citizens from China, he said India made the offer of evacuation to all neighbours, but only the Maldives accepted it. 

“As of today, ...1,275 flights have been screened, covering a total of 1,39,539 passengers, and 150 passengers identified with symptoms have been referred to isolation facilities,” the Health Minister said.

Mr. Vardhan said the visas issued (including the eVisa) to foreign nationals travelling from China were no longer valid. “Universal thermal screening has been made mandatory for all flights from Singapore and Thailand, besides Hong Kong and China. All these flights will park at the earmarked aero-bridges to facilitate screening,” he said. 

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 11:48:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/gom-headed-by-health-minister-monitoring-coronavirus-situation-says-harsh-vardhan/article30763244.ece

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