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Travel curbs on foreigners eased

The govt said this will be subject to a letter of invitation from a recognized and registered healthcare facility, registered pharmaceutical company or an accredited university in India.  (Photo: Reuters)Premium
The govt said this will be subject to a letter of invitation from a recognized and registered healthcare facility, registered pharmaceutical company or an accredited university in India. (Photo: Reuters)

  • Healthcare professionals, researchers and engineers working in Indian facilities come under ambit of the move
  • Govt also included more categories of foreigners while relaxing visa restrictions

India on Wednesday relaxed visa and travel restrictions for foreign healthcare professionals, health researchers, engineers and technicians working at Indian healthcare facilities, including laboratories and factories.

It hopes the step will promote smooth functioning of healthcare infrastructure and seamless research work during the coronavirus pandemic.

The move came as India reported 9,259 fresh cases of coronavirus, with 254 deaths.

The home ministry said this will, however, be subject to a letter of invitation from a recognized and registered healthcare facility, registered pharmaceutical company or an accredited university in India. While relaxing the visa restrictions, the ministry also included some more categories of foreign nationals.

The categories include foreign businessmen coming to India on a business visa (other than on B-3 visa for sports) in non-scheduled commercial or chartered flights, foreign engineering, managerial, design or other specialists travelling to India on behalf of foreign business entities located in India. This includes all manufacturing units, design units, software and IT units, as well as financial sector companies (banking and non-banking firms), the home ministry said.

The ministry also relaxed norms for foreign technical specialists and engineers travelling for installation, repair and maintenance of foreign-origin machinery and equipment facilities in India, on the invitation of a registered Indian business entity. These could be for equipment installation, or under warranty repairs, or for after-sales servicing on commercial terms.

The government said these categories of foreign nationals will have to obtain a fresh business visa or employment visa, as applicable, from the Indian missions and posts abroad. “Foreign nationals holding a valid long-term multiple entry business visa (other than B-3 visa for sports) issued by the Indian missions/posts abroad would have to get the business visa re-validated from the Indian mission/post concerned. Such foreign nationals would not be permitted to travel to India on the strength of any electronic visa obtained earlier," the Union home ministry said in a statement.

The health ministry on Wednesday said that during the last 24 hours, 4,776 covid-19 patients were cured, taking the total to 100,303, with a recovery rate of 48.31%. At present there are 101,497 active patients, all of whom were under active medical supervision.

The testing capacity has been increased in the country through 480 government and 208 private laboratories. Cumulatively, 4,103,233 samples have been tested so far for covid-19, while 137,158 samples were tested on Tuesday alone. Meanwhile, the health ministry also issued guidelines for safe ear, nose, throat (ENT) practice during the covid-19 pandemic, as it is a high-risk speciality. The guidelines seek to minimize the spread of the infection among ENT doctors, nursing staff, support staff, patients and their attendants.

The guidelines said patients entering ENT outpatient department (OPD) should be screened. The objective of screening is to minimize exposure to staff and to patients.

According to the guidelines, patients having symptoms suggestive of covid 19, whether ENT symptoms or respiratory symptoms, should be seen in a separate “covid-19 screening clinic" and not in the ENT OPD.

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