New Delhi: India has temporarily banned the entry of passengers from Malaysia, Philippines, and Afghanistan in a bid to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.

The advisory, which was released on March 17, mandated that “no flight shall take off from these countries after 3 pm according to Indian Standard Time (IST), with immediate effect.

The government of India noted that this was a temporary measure that will be in force till March 31, 2020.

Earlier on March 16, the government had mandated the compulsory quarantining of passengers who had travelled via UAE, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait to India. Such passengers are expected to remain in quarantine for at least 14 days with immediate effect.

The government has also banned the entry of passengers from member countries of the European Union, the European Free Trade Association, Turkey and the United Kingdom from March 18. “No airline shall board a passenger from these nations to India with effect from 1200 GMT on 18th March 2020. The airline shall enforce this at the port of initial departure,” the advisory said.

Meanwhile, in the wake of COVID-19, all existing visas, except for diplomatic, official, UN/International Organizations, employment, project visas have been suspended till April 15.

Travellers from the seven corona-affected countries- such as China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain, and Germany- including Indian nationals- who have arrived from or visited these places after February 15 have to be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days.

Indian nationals are strongly advised to avoid all non-essential travel abroad. On their return, they can be subjected to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.

As of March 17, three people have died due to COVID-19 in India. Latest being the 64-year-old man from Maharashtra. The country has a total of 125 positive cases of COVID-19, including foreign nationals. Maharashtra has registered the highest number of coronavirus cases with 36 patients so far.

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