Nearly 200 Indian students, researchers, and other professionals stuck in India are not permitted to travel to the Czech Republic after the latter put India on the list of “extreme-risk countries” amid the pandemic.
The affected students have voiced their concerns through a social media campaign, calling on the competent authorities to pay attention to the difficulties they are facing to enter the Czech Republic due to a travel ban imposed by the country in April this year, Erudera.com reports.
“Due to the unfavorable development of the COVID-19 pandemic situation and spread of a new variant of COVID-19, India (from April 27, 2021) and Nepal (from May 22, 2021) are included in the list of countries with an extreme risk of COVID-19 infection,” a press release issued by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in New Delhi reads.
The group of 200 people stranded in India has already signed an online petition, claiming that they have contacted all the competent bodies, including the Ministry of External Affairs, the Indian Ambassador in the Czech Republic, the Czech Ambassador in New Delhi, the Ministry of Interior in the Czech Republic as well as the EU delegation in India and the EU Council.
“Since life has been restored to normalcy in Czechia, physical presence is required in labs, schools, universities, and offices. Many are now fully vaccinated, and most countries are allowing essential travel for students, researchers, and employees, but there is no word from Czech Republic officials,” Stuti Joshi, a researcher at IIT Delhi, told Indian Express.
On Twitter, Joshi said that researchers are losing their prestigious positions while job holders are left unpaid. According to her, of the 200 stranded students, 70 have valid visas but are not allowed to travel due to the travel ban, 60 students have submitted documents to the embassy, and around 90 are expected to submit their visa applications, but the embassy is closed at the moment.
Whereas, Upasana Srivastava, who is an IT professional from Jhansi, said that she had to quit her job in India in March 2021 after accepting a job offer in Czechia, adding that she is now worried about her family income.
All travelers returning to the Czech Republic who hold residence permits have been allowed to enter the country, whereas the majority of people signing the online petition are first-time visa holders in the Czech Republic.