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China suspends entry of travellers from India, puts Vande Bharat flights on hold citing COVID fears

China said it was concerned after 19 Indians tested positive on landing in Wuhan on November 3.
Nov 5, 2020 / 06:04 PM IST

China has decided to temporarily suspend the entry of foreign nationals from India holding valid Chinese visas or residence permit into the country in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese Embassy said in a notification on November 5.

China is also holding back clearances for flights from India, and the proposed Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) flight on November 6 has been rescheduled.

"With Regard to the planned VBM flight on November 6 from Delhi-Wuhan-Delhi, the embassy has not received the required clearances from the Chinese authorities, who have indicated that more discussions are required in order to process these clearances. The proposed flight on November 6 is therefore being rescheduled," said the Embassy of India in China in a notification.

China said it was concerned after 19 Indians tested positive on landing in Wuhan on November 3.

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Passengers testing positive for COVID-19 on arrival: Air India's fault?

Overall, there were three more flights to Wuhan that were scheduled in November.

"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," Chinese Embassy said in the notification.

Foreigners holding Chinese diplomatic, service, courtesy and C visas are not affected, it clarified.

"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, 2020 is not affected," the notification added.

China has also barred entry to non-Chinese visitors from Britain, Belgium, and the Philippines and demanded travellers from the US, France and Germany present results of additional health tests, as coronavirus cases rise round the world.

China has temporarily suspended entry of non-Chinese nationals travelling from the UK even if they hold valid visas and residence permits, the Chinese Embassy in Britain said, in some of the most stringent border restrictions imposed by any country in response to the pandemic.

The Chinese embassies in Belgium and the Philippines released similar statements announcing restrictions on travellers from the two countries.

At present only Air India operates VBM flights to China. The national airline had operated flights to Shanghai, Guangzhou and Wuhan, from Delhi in October.

China is not the first country to restrict arrivals from India. Hong Kong has already suspended Air India flights, four times since August. The current suspension stays till November 10. Malaysia had also barred Indians from traveling to the country.

A similar instance, this time of an Air India Express passenger testing positive on arrival in Dubai had led to the Emirate barring the airline. But that was taken back within a day.

(With inputs from Reuters)
first published: Nov 5, 2020 06:04 pm
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