In view of the surge in the number of deaths due to coronavirus cases in the two countries, India has temporarily suspended visa on arrival services for nationals of Japan and South Korea, the Indian embassy in Tokyo said today. The development comes a day after India evacuated 119 Indians and 5 foreigners who were on board the coronavirus-hit cruise ship, Diamond Princess, moored off the Japanese coast.

Out of the 3,711 people on board the ship, over 700 people tested positive for the disease. Elsewhere in the country, over 160 people have been found to be infected with the disease.

With COVID-19 cases surpassing 2,000, South Korea has become the biggest cluster to have infections outside China. A total of 13 people have died of the virus in the country.

According to an AFP report, more than 90 per cent of the new cases were in Daegu city, the epicentre of the outbreak in South Korea, and the neighbouring North Gyeongsang province. “In view of the recent outbreak of COVID-19, VISA ON ARRIVAL which was available only for nationals of Japan and South Korea has been temporarily suspended,” the Indian embassy tweeted. “Regular visas continue to be processed and may be applied for,” it said.

Earlier, India had on February 2 suspended e-visa facility for Chinese travellers and foreigners residing in China following a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country. Further tightening the visa rules, India on February 4 cancelled the existing visas for Chinese and foreigners who had visited the country in the last two weeks.

The novel coronavirus emerged in early December and traced to a market that sold wild animals in Hubei’s capital Wuhan in China. The death toll due to the deadly disease rose to 2,788 in China with 44 more deaths, while the confirmed cases climbed to 78,824, according to Chinese health officials on Friday.

According to The Guardian, The virus has now spread to around 49 countries, with New Zealand, Belarus, Lithuania, and Nigeria, the first case in sub-Saharan Africa, all reporting their first cases in the last day. Many are linked to travellers from Iran. Markets around the world have taken huge hits, and the Chinese economy has seen its worst slump in two decades. The UN security council has decided to lift some economic sanctions on North Korea to help it fend off the virus, which it still says it has no cases of.