India suspends granting visas to Japanese, others amid virus scare

published : 4 Mar 2020 at 13:56

Tourists wearing protective masks are pictured at the historic Taj Mahal in Agra, India, on Tuesday. (Reuters photo)

NEW DELHI: India has suspended the granting of regular visas to nationals of Japan and three other countries to guard against the spread of the new coronavirus.

The government, in an official advisory, also said all nationals of Japan, Italy, Iran and South Korea already possessing visas will not be allowed to enter India, excepting in compelling circumstances.

The suspension applies to a visa-on-arrival scheme enjoyed by Japanese and South Korean visitors.

In addition, India has suspended regular e-visas granted to all foreigners who have traveled to Japan, China, Iran, Italy and South Korea on or after Feb. 1, and who have yet to enter India.

The suspensions do not apply to certain categories of people such as diplomats, UN officials and aircrew, but they must undergo compulsory medical screening upon entry.

The latest moves come after visa issuance to nationals of China, the epicenter of the new coronavirus, was suspended last month.

Six people have so far tested positive for the virus in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "Different ministries & states are working together, from screening people arriving in India to providing prompt medical attention. There is no need to panic.

We need to work together, take small yet important measures to ensure self-protection."

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