India granting visas to Japanese cancelled, others amid virus pandemic

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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. It also said that the visa suspension for Chinese nationals on or before February 5 will remain in force. The visas of all the other foreign nationals issued on or after February 1, and who are in countries affected by coronavirus, have been suspended. Such people will have to get a fresh visa if they want to enter India due to unavoidable circumstances, said the government.

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.

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.”

In most people, the virus causes symptoms such as fever, fatigue, dry cough, muscle pain and difficulty breathing. A few get headaches, dizziness, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Those without symptoms will be quarantined at home and asked to call if they develop symptoms, while those with symptoms will be isolated and tested, according to the health ministry. But it is near impossible to track all the strangers the man may have come in contact with over the past week.

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