United States imposes travel restrictions on India to curb COVID-19 spread

The United States will restrict travel from India starting May 4, the White House said on Friday, citing a devastating rise in COVID-19 cases in the country and the emergence of potentially dangerous variants of the coronavirus.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden’s administration made the determination on the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The policy will be implemented in light of extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in India,” she said.

The policy means most non-US citizens who have been in India within the last 14 days will not be allowed to travel to the United States. There are some exceptions for permanent residents of the US, family members as well as some other non-US citizens.

India has reported more than 19.1 million cases since the pandemic began, a number second only to the United States. India’s health ministry on Saturday reported 402,014 daily infections and 3,524 deaths in the past 24 hours. However, experts believe the figures are an undercount.

Countries from Europe to Asia have begun tightening quarantines and closing borders to people who have been in India amid growing alarm at the steep rise in cases and concern new variants of the virus are driving the steep rise in cases.

Australia, which has managed to virtually eliminate the virus domestically, announced late on Friday that residents and citizens who have been in India within the previous 14 days of returning home will be banned from entering the country as of May 3 and risk fines and as long as five years in jail if they disobey. READ.