The Centre is in touch with the Chinese side to facilitate “essential travel” of Indians to and from China even as Bejing has announced that it barred travel from India, government sources said on Thursday.
A release from the Chinese embassy said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic China has decided to “temporarily suspend” the entry into China by “foreign nationals in India holding valid Chinese visas or residence permits”.
Indian government sources explained that the “measure is not India specific” and “similar measures have been announced in respect of several other countries”.
The release explained the suspension is a “temporary measurement” that China has to “adopt” to deal with the current COVID-19 crisis and the country will make “further adjustment and announcement in accordance” with the ongoing pandemic situation. The entry into China with visas issued after November 3, 2020, is not affected by this announcement.
“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 a visa application to the Chinese embassy/consulates in India. The entry into China with visas issued after November 3rd is not affected,” it said.
Other than India, the Chinese embassy in Belgium, UK and Philippines have also announced that temporary suspension of entry into China by non-Chinese nationals in these countries despite holding visas or residence permits.
The announcement by the Chinese side comes in the backdrop after 19 Indians tested covid positive on Vande Bharat flight from Delhi to Wuhan on October 30. While the fate of upcoming Vande Bharat mission (VBM) flights is not known, four flights from Wuhan to Delhi are scheduled as of now on–November 13, 20, 27 and December 4.
A planned VBM flight on November 6 from Delhi to Wuhan and back to Delhi did not receive required clearance from Chinese authorities and the flight has been postponed.