Coronavirus Covid-19: Delhi Airport restricts entry to duty-free zone

13 March 2020 (Last Updated March 13th, 2020 11:41)

Indian Customs has restricted passenger entry in Delhi Airport's duty-free zone as the country accelerates efforts to contain the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus Covid-19: Delhi Airport restricts entry to duty-free zone
Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. Credit: Bharatahs.

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Indian Customs has restricted passenger entry in Delhi Airport’s duty-free zone as the country accelerates efforts to contain the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

The move involves banning access for passengers arriving from 15 countries, including China, South Korea and Italy.

Commissioner of Customs at Delhi Airport noted that the move was implemented ‘in view of the threat from Covid-19 virus’, news agency PTI reported.

The restriction also bans travellers arriving from the US, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Spain, France, Vietnam, Nepal and Thailand.

Indian nationals arriving from these countries are also prohibited from visiting Delhi’s duty-free zone.

In terms of passenger traffic, Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi is one of the busiest airports in the country.

The decision comes after the Indian Government decided to suspend all existing visas issued to foreign nationals until 15 April 2020.

However, the stricter visa regulations exclude foreign citizens who are already in the country, as well as diplomats, officials of some international organisations and people with Employment Protect visas.

In addition, the government suspended the visa-free travel facility for Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) holders to 15 April.

As of 13 March, 78 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in India.

Globally, the figure stands at 133,889, with nearly 5,000 deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) has already declared the outbreak to be a pandemic.