Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, China has decided to temporarily suspend the entry into the country

After China on Thursday decided to suspend air travel from India, people familiar with the development in the Indian government said the announcement made by the Chinese Embassy indicates that the measure is a temporary action and that changes can be expected in a timely manner.

Last Friday, as many as 23 Indians on a Vande Bharat Mission flight from New Delhi to the Chinese city of Wuhan tested positive for Covid-19. Seeing the large number of cases, the New Delhi-based Chinese embassy decided to change pre-boarding testing rules for Indians coming to China on special flights from November 7.

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is hereby announced that China has decided to temporarily suspend the entry into China by foreign nationals in India holding valid Chinese visas or residence permits,” the Chinese embassy said in a press note.

“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.

Indian officials said action is temporary one and that future visa applications have not been banned.

“Action taken is to temporarily suspend existing visas only. As the notice indicates, future visa applications have not been banned. Visas issued after November 3rd is valid for travel to China,” sources from the government said.

They also said that such measures are not India specific. “Similar measures have been announced in respect of several other countries,” sources said.

“The reason behind the measure seems to be Chinese concerns on possible rise in COVID-19 cases globally, aggravated due to the advent of autumn and winter in the Northern Hemisphere, sources further said.

Nevertheless, the Government of India, as per sources, is in touch with the Chinese side to facilitate essential travel of Indians to and from China.