by Seth BUTERA May 2, 2021
The U.S. is set to restrict travel from India starting Tuesday, as the Asian country continues to struggle to contain COVID-19 within its borders.
The Biden administration’s order is expected to prohibit foreign nationals who have been in India within the previous 14 days from entering the U.S., CNN reports. The restriction will likely not apply to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, humanitarian workers, and others with specific exemptions.
Similar policies already apply to travelers who have recently been in South Africa, Brazil, the U.K., Ireland, and the European Schengen zone. The White House said it consulted with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and was basing its latest decision on high COVID-19 caseloads in India and the emergence of multiple variants of concern.
Congressional offices and airlines have been informed of the decision, CNN reported.
Anyone still able to enter the U.S. from India will need to test negative for COVID-19 prior to their departure and again upon landing in the U.S. If a traveler hasn’t been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, they will need to quarantine upon arrival in the U.S.
Italy, the U.K., and Singapore already have enacted similar restrictions on travel from India. Meanwhile, Canada, Hong Kong, and New Zealand have suspended commercial air travel with the country.
India has so far reported more than 18.7 million COVID-19 cases and more than 208,300 deaths, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization. An official tally shows nearly 3,500 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in India in the past 24 hours alone.
Those figures likely underestimate the true scope of the pandemic in the country, many experts believe. The real tally could be five or 10 times higher, Reuters reports. Even with vaccinations underway, COVID-19 is surging in parts of India, including Mumbai and New Delhi, while doctors, patients, and family members plead for oxygen on social media.