With India being crippled in the second wave of the coronavirus and fear of the spread of the new ‘India variant’ across borders—several countries have issued a fresh set of travel bans, restrictions and guidelines towards the former. Here’s the list:
Starting May 4, the U.S.A. is indefinitely restricting all travel from India. President Joe Biden issued the proclamation stating “extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in the country” as the reason. However, the travel ban will not apply to U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the country and their spouses. According to the U.S. State Department, certain categories of humanitarian workers, certain journalists and academics, and students commencing studies in the fall will also be exempted from the ban. These are the same exceptions that are in place for travellers from Brazil, China, Iran and or South Africa.
The U.K. has added India to its “red list”—a list of countries from where all arrivals are banned— amidst a rapid surge in cases in the latter. The order came into effect on April 23.
The mandate for the “red list” countries state that those travelling from any red-listed country, or those who have passed through a red-listed country in the last 10 days, will be denied entry to the U.K. In an address to the Parliament, U.K. Health Secretary Matt Kancock is reported to have said: “We’ve made the difficult but vital decision to add India to the Red List. This means anyone who is not a U.K. or Irish resident or a British citizen cannot enter the U.K. if they’ve been in India in the previous 10 days.”
He added that British or Irish passport holders, or people with U.K. residence rights would be allowed in, but would need to mandatorily quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days.
Along with India, the Canadian government also placed a ban on all passenger flights from Pakistan as well for a period of 30 days due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in both countries. The order was put into effect from the night of April 22.
The U.A.E. has banned travel from India for a period of 10 days starting April 25, following which the subject will be reviewed again. Along with those hailing from India, those who have transited through India in the past 14 days before the date, will also not be allowed to board from any other point to the UAE. However, the ban is not extended to U.A.E citizens, diplomatic passport holders and official delegations. It also does not stand to affect departure flights.
From April 24 onwards, Singapore banned all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors who had travelled to India in the past two weeks since the date, from entry or transit via Singapore. Earlier, it had imposed an additional seven-day home quarantine for travellers arriving from India, in addition to the mandatory 14-day institutional quarantine.
Several reports have claimed that France is set to impose a new set of travel restrictions for those flying in from India. For now, the European country has mandated a compulsory 10-day quarantine for those arriving from the latter. Spain, another favourite tourist-destination, has made the 10-day mandatory quarantine necessary for all travellers from India.
Since April 27, Australia has suspended all direct passenger flights from India, an order that will remain in effect till May 15. Before the end of this term, the matter will be reviewed again. In a press briefing, Prime Minister Scott Morrison had said: “Today we agreed, in addition to the measures that I announced after the last National Cabinet meeting, to pause direct passenger flights between India and Australia until May 15.” Additionally, indirect flights coming from India via Singapore, Doha, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur have also been put on pause.
On April 22, the Israeli Health Ministry warned its citizens, including those recovered from COVID-19 or those even fully vaccinated against the virus, to refrain from travelling to India in light of the spike in cases, as well as the presence of new variants of the virus in the country. It also advised its citizens from travelling to Ukraine, Ethiopia, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and Turkey. Added to this, the ministry said that unvaccinated foreign workers and students from India have to undergo mandatory isolation in state-run quarantine hotels.
Oman’s Supreme Committee had stated that it would indefinitely be barring the entry of all travellers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh starting from April 24. It added that travellers who had visited any of these countries in the past two weeks since the date would also be denied entry.
On April 25, Thailand—a favoured destination among Indian tourists—said that it would be banning all travellers arriving from the country. Taweesilp Visanuyothin, COVID-19 Situation Administration spokesman said that the country would be postponing the process of issuing certificates of entry for both Indian citizens and foreigners arriving from India. Only Thai returnees from India would be allowed in, many of them having registered their intent to return to their home country with the Thai Foreign Ministry.
From April 26 onwards, no passengers travelling from India to neighbouring Bangladesh via land have been allowed entry. The order will remain valid for two weeks since its implementation. Meanwhile, air travel from the country to Bangladesh has been suspended since April 14, itself.
Despite being the top-ranking holiday destination for a section of Indians through the pandemic—the Ministry of Tourism in Maldives announced that starting April 27, its islands would be closed to Indian tourists due to the coronavirus situation in the latter country.
The civil aviation agency in Iran has banned all flights to and from India and Pakistan to the country. The order came into place at midnight on April 24.
The Transport Ministry of Malaysia has said it will halt the entry of Indian nationals and passengers into the country, as well as implement strict controls for all ships arriving from India that are docking at the former’s ports.
Both Germany and Italy have said they will only allow their respective citizens travelling from India to enter the countries. This too, after they followed a series of safety protocols, with Italy asking the citizens to show a negative COVID-19 test. Additionally, all foreign travellers who have been in India in the preceding 14 days will not be allowed entry into Italy.
Sanjana Ray is that unwarranted tour guide people groan about on trips. When she isn't geeking out on travel and history, she can be found walking around the streets, crying for Bengali food. She is former Digital Writer at National Geographic Traveller India.