Mar 12, 2020

India suspends visas to halt COVID-19 spread

India has announced that all visas, barring a select few categories, will be suspended for a month in order to halt the spread of Covid-19.

Visa free travel afforded to overseas citizens of the country has also been suspended until 15 April.

The move is expected to impact tourism, hotel and aviation industries in what will be more bad news for the slowing economy.

India has 73 confirmed cases of the virus, the health ministry says.

This number is expected to grow in coming days, as the results for tests conducted earlier become available.

The advisory, issued on Wednesday night, says that only diplomatic, official, employment and project visas will be exempt from the current restrictions, which will be reviewed again in a month.

US imposes travel restrictions on Europe

Meanwhile, US president - Donald Trump has announced sweeping new travel restrictions on Europe in a bid to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

But he said the "strong but necessary" restrictions would not apply to the UK, which has 460 cases of the virus.

A presidential proclamation issued later specified that only travellers from the 26 countries in the Schengen border-free travel area were barred.

This leaves a number of other European countries including Ireland unaffected.

"To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe," Mr Trump said from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening.

"The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight," he added. The travel order does not apply to US citizens.

(BBC News)

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