Biden to restrict travel from India to US due to increase in Covid-19 cases
India’s healthcare system is overwhelmed by the latest wave of 386,452 new cases, which may be underestimated. People are waiting at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India. Photo: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images The United States will restrict travel from India from next week, the White House said Friday, citing the devastating rise in Covid-19 cases in the country and the emergence of potentially dangerous versions of the coronavirus. The borders, which take effect on May 4, prohibit most non-US citizens from India from entering the United States. White House spokesman En Psaki said the Biden administration had made the decision on the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The policy will be implemented in light of the many options for Covid-19, which is extremely high in India,” he said. India’s healthcare system is overwhelmed by the latest wave of the worst-hit country since the virus showed no signs of weakening. With 386,452 new cases, India now reports more than 18.7 million cases since the outbreak, second only to the United States. The health ministry said on Friday that 3,498 people had died in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 208,330. Experts believe that both indicators are less accurate. US actions take place Biden promised to send immediate aid after talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the health crisis. The United States has already shipped medical supplies, rapid viral tests, and oxygen to India, as well as some of the materials needed to boost domestic production of Covid-19 vaccines. In addition, a CDC team of public health professionals was expected to be in India soon to help slow the spread of the virus. The White House has waited for the CDC proposal to restrict travel before, noting that the United States already requires negative tests – quarantine for all international travelers. In January, Biden imposed a similar ban on non-US citizens entering the country who had recently been to South Africa. He also reaffirmed the entry ban for almost non-US travelers who have been to Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and 26 European countries that allow them to travel across open borders. China and Iran are also covered by this policy. The policy means that most non-US citizens who have been in one of these countries for the past 14 days are not eligible to travel to the United States. Permanent residents, family members, and some other non-US citizens, such as students, are exempt. There was no immediate comment from the State Department on the new restrictions, which on Thursday re-issued a warning to Americans against traveling to India, saying those already in the country should consider leaving commercially. The warning was accompanied by a notice that the agency was telling the families of all US government employees at its embassy in New Delhi, in the four consulates in India, that they could leave the country at the expense of the government. US international air travel is 60% lower than Covid-19 levels, while US domestic air travel is 40% lower, according to the American Airlines Industrial Commercial Group.