CORONAVIRUS IN GOA UPDATE: Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, India has suspended ALL visas from every country from March 13th until April 15th. The Government also imposed a 14 days quarantine for travelers arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain and Germany after February 15th.
“All existing visas, except diplomatic, official, U.N./international organizations, employment, project visas, stand suspended till 15th April 2020,” India’s Health Ministry Harsh Vardhan said in a statement.
Is Coronavirus already in Goa? The official answer is no. As for now, official sources report that only 2 people (foreign nationals) have been quarantined in Goa Medical College and Hospital in Panaji amid the Covid-19 virus scare. Their samples have been sent to Pune for investigation. Coronavirus in Goa is still under control then.
However, the fear of an upcoming epidemic is growing all around the region. The Economic Times, one of the leading news sources in India, reports that tourism in Goa is already experiencing a severe drop. An increasing number of tourists from Europe and other countries are canceling their bookings.
Two hotel owners in Arambol told me today that they just lost more than 1 lakhs each due to canceled bookings because of the fear of coronavirus in Goa. Others reported a similar situation in Calangute.
As a tourist in Goa, I have decided to write this post to share all the information I have about the coronavirus in Goa. I will constantly update it. You are welcome to add a comment below if you find any incorrect information or if you want to share anything relevant.
Coronavirus in Goa
On March 5th, the Goa Ports Minister Michael Lobo told the press that tourism in Goa is doing well despite the coronavirus. But just 4 days later, Manual Cardoso, General Secretary All Goa Traditional Shack Owners’ Association, admitted that tourism in Goa, both international and domestic, is already down 50% because of the virus emergency.
In North Goa the drop of tourists is evident. Fewer people hang out on the beach and everybody is talking about the Covid-19 virus. Travelers don’t know where to go next and confusion reigns supreme.
Coronavirus: visa and e-visa related information
The international community is trying to figure out how to deal with the coronavirus in Goa.
On March 4th, the Indian government has announced a hard line on Italian tourists, stopping issuing any visa and e-visa to Italian citizens. On March 10th the same measure has been extended to any traveler with Spanish, French and German passport.
Entering in India became almost impossible for Chinese, South Korean, Italian, French, Germans, Iranian and Spanish. And now the Indian Government suspended all visas from all countries until April 15th.
So, will the visas be issued again after April 15th? Not necessarily. India will most likely look at the developing situation worldwide and take a decision accordingly.
In case those foreign nationals are already in India, the Indian Government says, then their visas stand valid. The above should contact the nearest FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Officer) office and ask for a visa extension. For Goa, the nearest FRRO Office is in Panjim.
Many countries are applying restrictions to travelers coming from countries with a Covid-19 outbreak. But only India, as long as I know, has decided to deny visas to all the citizens of the affected countries, no matter where they are traveling from.
What do to if your Visa is expiring?
According to what I have learned so far, my advice is the following. If you are already in India and your visa is about to expire, do not overstay. Apply for a Visa extension instead if you wish to stay in India because you are afraid to travel or get back to your country. Otherwise, consider traveling to a country where the coronavirus infection is still low. Check this coronavirus outbreak map by Financial Times. In Asia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia look like good options to me at the moment.
If you want to apply for a visa extension, you can do it online on this website. However, you may want to consider asking for help from a travel agency.
IMPORTANT: in order to file for a visa extension it is mandatory to have the C-Form, a document provided by your hotel or landlord where he confirm that you are his guest and you have a real address in India. With no C-Form it is not possible to get a visa extension.
Should you go for visa-run now?
Probably not. If your 180 days are about to expire, I advise not to go for visa run now, because you could not be allowed to come back to India, or you might not get visa-on-arrival. Popular visa-run destinations like Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal are not ideal anymore. Before to plan your visa-run, check carefully how the country you choose is dealing with the Coronavirus in Goa.
Is coronavirus already in Goa?
As for now, the total count of India coronavirus cases has touched 62. Not many, compared to the epidemic that other countries are experiencing. No confirmed cases in Goa, so far.
But Goa is a major international destination. Many tourists arrive every day from dozens of countries and it is plausible that the virus will hit here too sooner or later.
Do you have any useful information about the coronavirus in Goa? Please, share it in the comment below.