23:48 GMT26 February 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Amid a rising number of coronavirus cases in China and more spreading across the world, the Indian government has put a blanket ban on people who wish to visit India on valid visas from the East Asian country.

    A day ahead of participating in India’s Defence Expo, the Chinese delegation has cancelled its visit. The expo is scheduled to be inaugurated on Wednesday.

    On 31 January, the Indian Defence Ministry said that nearly 40 countries had confirmed their participation, including a big delegation from China, in the expo.

    Earlier in the day, the Indian Embassy in Beijing clarified that existing visas are no longer valid.

    “Intending visitors may contact Embassy in Beijing (visa.beijing@mea.gov.in) or the Consulates in Shanghai (Ccons.shanghai@mea.gov.in) and Guangzhou (Visa.guangzhou@mea.gov.in) to apply afresh for an Indian visa”, the statement issued by the Indian Embassy read.

    ​The statement was issued a day after the Indian government in New Delhi on Monday announced the suspension of its e-Visa facility for Chinese passport holders.

    The facility for submitting the application online for the physical visa from China is also suspended.

    Meanwhile, an order issued by India’s Bureau of Immigration under the Home Ministry on Tuesday instructed all airlines to not to allow a single passenger from China to board their aircraft for any destination in India.

    “All the airlines are informed not to take on board any passenger from China, including Chinese or other foreign nationals who may be holding valid Electronic Travel Authority/e-visa to board their aircraft for any destination in India”, the order reads, while announcing that it entered into effect immediately.

    Air India, the country’s national carrier, also cancelled all flights to and from Hong Kong.

    “In view of the coronavirus issue, Air India is suspending its flights to Hong Kong after flying AI314 on the 7th of February 2020”, a spokesperson of the national carrier said on Tuesday.

    As of 3 February, a total of 593 flights have been screened, covering a total of 72,353 passengers.

    Passenger screening is ongoing at 21 airports, international seaports, and border crossings, particularly with Nepal. The Indian government informed on Monday night that 2,815 people are currently under community surveillance in different states of India.

    Of the total 338 samples sent for testing, 335 have been found to be negative, three are positive, while 70 are being processed.

    India has evacuated a total 654 people from coronavirus affected Wuhan on board two special flights since last Saturday.

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