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Beijing’s move comes after almost 20 passengers of an Air India Vande Bharat Mission flight from Delhi to Wuhan tested positive on October 30 as they arrived to the destination. The airline now faces potential cancellations to its flights scheduled between November 13 and December 4.
However, in a statement to NDTV, Air India maintained that it “strictly adheres to all safety protocols”.
It added that all customer from its flight to Wuhan had tested negative for the virus with results obtained in certified facilities.
The statement read: “All our passengers to Wuhan boarded the flight from Delhi with negative COVID reports from certified labs.
Air India strictly adheres to all safety protocol laid down by regulatory bodies and conforms to requirements at destination airports.
“There is no question of passengers boarding any of our flights without valid COVID reports.”
A senior airline official announced that a flight due to take off for Wuhan today has been cancelled as it “does not have approval of Chinese authorities”.
The Chinese Embassy in India published a statement on its website on Thursday addressing the ban.
It read: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s hereby announced that China has decided to temporarily suspend the entry into China by foreign nationals in India holding valid Chinese visas or residence permits.
“The Chinese Embassy/ Consulates in India will not stamp the Health Declaration Forms for the holders of the above-mentioned categories of visa or residence permits.”
But the ban has a few exceptions including Chinese diplomatic, service, courtesy and C visa holders.
Foreign nationals with emergency or humanitarian reasons to travel the country may apply for a visa via the Chinese Embassy/Consulates in India.
Those travelling to China with visas issued after November 3rd, 2020 are not affected by the restriction.
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The statement added: “The suspension is a temporary measurement that China has to adopt to deal with the current pandemic.
“China will make further adjustment and announcement in accordance with the ongoing pandemic situation in a timely manner.”
The move comes after China announced new rules on commercial flights entering the country.
A statement was issued on November 2 outlining “airline boarding requirements for certificates of negative acid and IgM antibody tests results.”
The statement read: “In order to reduce cross-border transmission of COVID-19, starting from November 5th, 2020 (Thursday), all Chinese and foreign passengers who are to fly from Belgium to China will be required to take nucleic acid and IgM anti-body tests and then apply for a green health code with the ‘HS’ mark or a certified health declaration form before boarding the flight.”
China has for months successfully contained the spread of the virus in its majority with some isolated outbreaks.
However, following some economic recovery, it has started to introduce new restriction that affect inbound travellers.
As of today, all passengers from the US, Germany, the Czech Republic and France must bear negative COVID-19 test certificates as well an antibody test report both dated within 48 hours of travelling.
The rule will also apply to Denmark from November 7.
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