US to cut travel from India due to surge in Covid infections

The United States will limit inbound travel from India, the White House said on Friday, as the coronavirus crisis in the country continues to worsen.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said in a statement that some inbound travel would be restricted from Tuesday, although she did not specify what limits would be imposed.

The announcement came on the day India reported more than 400,000 new cases of Covid-19, far more than anywhere else at any time during the pandemic. Official figures indicate that around 3,000 people die from the disease each day, although most experts believe the actual number is much higher.

“On the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the administration will restrict travel from India now,” Psaki said. “The policy will be implemented in light of the extraordinarily high number of Covid-19 cases and the multiple variants circulating in India. The policy goes into effect on Tuesday, May 4. “

She did not say what restrictions would apply, but the United States has already banned non-citizens from entering if they have been in certain foreign countries in the previous 14 days, including the United Kingdom, in much of Europe, China, Iran and Brazil.

Several other countries have restricted travel from India in an attempt to prevent the spread of the B.1.617 variant, which is believed to be responsible for much of the spread there.

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The UK announced last week that only UK and Irish citizens can travel to the country from India and that they would have to self-isolate in a government-approved hotel for 10 days. Germany and Italy have adopted similar measures.

The restrictions come days after the United States announced a package of support to help India fight the pandemic, including oxygen and materials to make vaccines.

The White House also announced this week that it will export 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has yet to be approved for use in the United States, to other countries. Although the administration has yet to confirm which countries will receive the doses, Joe Biden, US President, said he expects India to be one of them.