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India to reopen to foreign tourists from Oct 15
Published on: 2021-10-11
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India will re-open for tourists from Oct 15 after being closed for more than a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government said on Thursday.

The country famous for the Taj Mahal, desert palaces, tiger reserves, elephants and beaches had barred all foreign tourists in March 2020 in a strict lockdown when the pandemic took off.

But after a horrendous spike in Covid-19 cases earlier this year, the number of cases has since fallen sharply and the government, under pressure from an industry that is an important pillar of the economy, on Thursday announced a loosening.

Tourist visas will be granted for foreigners arriving on charter flights from Oct 15, and on other flights from Nov 15, the home ministry said in a statement.

It stressed that all Covid-19 protocols "should be adhered to by the foreign tourists, carriers bringing them into India and all other stakeholders at landing stations".

India initially banned all foreigner arrivals. The restrictions were gradually eased for businesspeople, diplomats and others but borders remained shut for holidaymakers.

In April and May this year, the country of 1.3 billion people was hit by a severe wave of coronavirus infections with about 400,000 cases and 4,000 deaths every day.

Hospitals were overwhelmed as more than 200,000 people died in a period of around 10 weeks, according to official numbers that are widely seen as an underestimate.

The spike was blamed on new virus variants and the government having lifted restrictions too soon and allowing sporting events and major celebrations for religious festivals to take place.

But cases have since slowed sharply to around 20,000 new daily infections and 200 to 300 deaths in recent weeks.

More than 250 million people have been double-vaccinated, although this equates to only around 20 per cent of the population, and experts warn that India could suffer another wave.


印度内政部决定从 10 月 15 日起,开放以包机形式进入印度旅游的国际旅客入境,同时赴印度旅游的散客也将从 11 月 15 日可以申请签证。这一项决定是印度卫生部、民航部、旅游部及业内人士会商后决定的。

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