China suspends entry of foreigners from India, UK, Philippines, Belgium; other countries may get affected soon.
China has once again suspended the entry into China of foreign nationals holding valid Chinese visas or residence permits. Chinese Embassies in India, the United Kingdom, Philippines and Belgium have made official announcements in this regard citing COVID-19 pandemic as reason.
The Chinese Embassy and consulates in these countries will no longer issue stamped Health Declaration Forms for the above-mentioned personnel, the notices said. At a Press briefing today in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson termed it a reasonable and legitimate move and said China has adjusted its measures learning from other countries’ practices. He further said, the Chinese embassies in relevant countries will publish timely notices in accordance with the evolving situation hinting that other countries may get affected soon.
Entry by holders of diplomatic, service, courtesy or C visas will not be affected. Foreign nationals visiting China for emergency reasons may apply for visas at Chinese Embassies or consulates in their respective countries. Also, as per the notices, it is a temporary measure and entry into China with visas issued after 3rd November 2020 will not be affected.
China has once again tightened control at its borders as it has been citing ‘imported cases’ as a major reason for its COVID numbers in recent times, notwithstanding local outbreaks in Dalian, Qingdao, Beijing and Urumqi and Kashgar in Xinjiang.
It has already postponed Vande Bharat Mission flight which was scheduled for 6th November due to 23 positive cases on a previous VBM flight to Wuhan on 30th October. Flights were scheduled for November 13, 20, 27 and December 4. The 30th October flight was the sixth VBM flight by Air India to China to help Indians stranded in both the countries to travel back to their destinations. More than 1,500 Indians are waiting to return to China in addition to nearly 23,000 Indian students studying in China.
Before today’s announcement, China re-introduced in India, requirement of antibody (IgG) test along with nucleic acid tests prior to boarding. Several Chinese embassies including in the US, Russia and UK now require both Chinese and foreigners flying to China to take the IgG test in addition to the nucleic acid test.
Meanwhile India is in touch with the Chinese side to facilitate essential travel of Indians to and from China. Sources said this after China announced a temporary ban on entry of foreign nationals from India with a valid Chinese visa or residence permit citing COVID reasons. Sources said the announcement made by the Chinese Embassy is a temporary action and changes can be expected in a timely manner. They said the action taken is to temporarily suspend existing visas only and future visa applications have not been banned. Visas issued after November 3rd are valid for travel to China.
Sources also said the measure is not India specific and similar measures have been announced in respect of several other countries. They 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.