Once thought to be nearing ‘herd immunity’ with rapidly declining case numbers, India is now the latest hotspot experiencing a rapid surge of COVID-19 cases. This time around, the country is seeing cases linked to a “double mutant” coronavirus variant – which has been shown to be even more contagious than the initial virus. With the benefit of hindsight, countries around the world are taking swift action to cut off international travel to try and stop or at least slow the spread of this new variant. Let’s take a look at the countries now taking action, as well as what specific measures are being taken.
A growing list of countries imposing bans and quarantines
With this list seemingly growing by the day, let’s take a look at where things stand. It should also be noted that these restrictions are subject to change, with possible extensions. Therefore, the measures listed are unlikely to be cut short or eased in the near future.
Australia: The Guardian reports that the government will slash the number of flights into the country from India by 30%. It notes that up to 40% of cases found during the country’s mandatory 14-day hotel quarantines came from Australians coming home from India.
Canada: On April 22nd, the federal government imposed a 30-day ban on all commercial and private flights from both India and Pakistan.
France: While not banning flights outright, the country is imposing a 10-day quarantine for travelers arriving from India in response to rising cases.
Hong Kong: On April 19th, we reported that Hong Kong was banning travel to India. The ban, which includes Pakistan and the Philippines, is set to last for 14 days, from April 20th to May 3rd.
Indonesia: Money Control reports that the country will stop issuing visas for foreigners if they have been in India in the last 14 days.
New Zealand: The NZ Herald reports that permanent residents from several countries, including India, will be blocked from coming directly into the country. New Zealand citizens, their parents, and partners, and children are still permitted to enter. This new policy will come into effect on Wednesday, April 28th.
Singapore: The country banned entry to all non-residents traveling from India as of April 23rd.
United Arab Emirates: As reported by Simple Flying, the UAE has banned all flights from India for 10 days starting April 25th.
United Kingdom: India was added to the UK’s red list on April 23rd. Only British or Irish citizens or those with residence rights in the country can enter the UK. However, this will require a 10-day, £1,750 ($2,425) hotel quarantine. The ban extends to anyone who has been in India in the 10 days before arriving in the UK.
Controversy in the Netherlands
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, NL Times reports that Health Minister Hugo de Jonge has had to defend a lack of additional action by the Dutch government. That’s because the EU-wide entry ban currently in place prevents residents of India from entering the Netherlands.
“In addition, the quarantine advice applies as soon as they are on Holland’s soil. In short, the [infected] people who still squeak through will go through an entire car wash, so that the virus will probably really stay outside our door,” – Hugo de Jonge, Dutch Health Minister via NL Times
De Jonge says the requirement for two negative coronavirus tests for those allowed to enter (citizens and permanent residents) is already an effective measure.
Have you been affected by the rising tide of India travel restrictions? Share your experience with us by leaving a comment.