As the coronavirus is quickly spreading around the world, many countries have imposed travel restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. According to the Worldometer, a total of 5,547 deaths and 1,48,654 149 countries and territories have been recorded globally till date. The WHO has declared the 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak a pandemic and a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
As the pandemic worsens, countries across the globe are suspending their visas to try and stop the spread of the virus. The centre had announced on March 12 that India would be joining the list of countries, which have temporarily suspended airline services.
While countries such as Australia and the US shut down travel to and from China, India has taken measures to suspend airline services from March 13 till April 15. The statement made by the Union Health Ministry suggested that all existing visas- except diplomatic, official, UN/international organizations, and employment and project visas will be suspended.
All incoming travellers, including Indian citizens who may have visited China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain and Germany on and after February 15, will be quarantined for 14 days.
After this decision from the Center, International airlines are expected to stop/control their services taking into consideration the current prevailing situation. It will, in turn, harm not only the airline industry but also the tourism and hotel businesses as well. As per the reports, the cascading effect of visa curbs will cause a blow of over Rs 8,500 crore to aviation, travel and hotels segments, according to the Indian Association of Tour Operators.
Questions of the suspension on the restriction of travel arose for many nationals living abroad, especially those in the US.
The Indian Embassy in the United States has temporarily suspended the Visa-free travel facility granted to the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cardholders till April 15. After a case of a death on March 12 and the confirmed infected cases reaching well above 80, these measures may temporarily slow the spread of the virus, but may not be competent enough to curb it.
During the early weeks of January, cases of the COVID-19 had started popping up in northern Italy after two Chinese tourists were tested positive. This quickly spread to other parts of the country, causing the government to issue quarantine for large parts of the region. By March the tourist places too were closed to restrict entry into the country and to stop widespread contamination.
The United States:
The US had initially limited entry to passengers from China, Macau and Hong Kong. However, now US President Donald Trump announced a shocking 30-day ban on travel from mainland Europe over quick-spreading coronavirus.
Iran became one among the countries to be quickly affected because of the speed and intensity of the spread of the virus. Many countries have banned their citizens from travelling to Iran, and have halted arrivals for Iranians. India is one among the countries that had issued total temporary bans on Iranian citizens.
Due to the rise in cases from January till date, the Australian government announced a partial travel ban on passengers travelling from Iran, where they would have to spend 14 days in a third nation before arriving in Australia.
Other measures that are taken to reduce the spread of coronavirus:
Schools, Universities and Colleges around the world have suspended classes until further notice. Formal in-class lectures have now been shifted to methods like online teaching to ensure safety.
The partial travel bans in Australia had caused many difficulties to students enrolled in Australian universities but could not meet the government’s requirement and had to defer for another semester as they could not afford to stay in a third nation for 14 days.
Various businesses and offices are now allowing work from home to their employees to stop the spreading of the virus. British Airways among many other airline companies have indicated in job cuts after the coronavirus pandemic devastated demand for global air travel.
Several sporting events, concerts, music tours, among many other means of entertainment were further cancelled as there is no way to control the spread. The NBA had been suspended after a player was tested positive for COVID-19; IPL had been postponed till April 15.
Famous Talk shows hosts have announced a temporary halt in their regular shows as there are no audience in the studios. Popular K-Pop band BTS, have suspended their tour till further dates and Coachella also have been cancelled as it contributes to a large crowd.