China on Thursday decided to temporarily suspend the entry of foreign nationals living in India into China. This order will apply to all foreign nationals in India holding valid Chinese visas or residence permits.
In addition, China has also suspended all flights from India citing the coronavirus pandemic.
"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," China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
The statement went on to add, "Foreigners holding Chinese diplomatic, service, courtesy and C visas are not affected. 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."
Chinese Foreign Ministry went further to state that this suspension is a temporary measure to deal with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. "China will make further adjustments and announcements in accordance with the ongoing pandemic situation in a timely manner," the statement said.
Sources told India Today that 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. “Action taken is to temporarily suspend existing visas only. As the notice indicates, future visa applications have not been banned. Visas issued after November 3 are valid for travel to China,” Sources said.
“The measure is not India specific. It is noted that similar measures have been announced in respect of several other countries. 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. The Government of India is in touch with the Chinese side to facilitate essential travel of Indians to and from China,” sources added.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday also barred entry to non-Chinese visitors from a number of countries into Mainland China. These include Britain, Belgium and the Philippines.
China has further asked travellers from France, Germany and the US to present results of additional health tests upon entry.
With respect to Britain, Belgium, and the Philippines, China has also suspended entry of non-Chinese nationals travelling from these countries even if they hold valid visas and residence permits, according to news agency Reuters.