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Everyone agrees that COVID-19 did not originate in India and came from international travellers. Why didn't India ban incoming flights in early Feb 2020 till the virus problem is over ? Is there any international travel rule which prohibits a country from refusing entry to its own citizens?

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    Note that that (right of return) doesn't prevent any country for quarantining their returning citizens (en masse) once they do return. Also, such (mass) quarantines should not be confused with lockdowns. – Fizz Apr 6 '20 at 21:08
  • E.g. China has recently done that: "At midnight on Friday [March 27], China banned virtually all foreigners from entering the country and required all returning Chinese to be quarantined for 2 weeks, whether coming by air or over land." – Fizz Apr 6 '20 at 21:18
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Is there any international travel rule which prohibits a country from refusing entry to its own citizens?

Yes.

The Right of return is a principle in international law which guarantees everyone's right of voluntary return to or re-enter their country of origin or of citizenship.

The right is formulated in several modern treaties and conventions, most notably in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the 1948 Fourth Geneva Convention. The Geneva Conventions, it has been argued, have passed into customary international law and that the right of return is binding on non-signatories to the conventions


The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights says

Article 13.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

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