In light of the COVID-19 epidemic, US President Joe Biden imposed new travel restrictions on India on Friday, barring most non-US citizens from entering the country.
The latest restrictions, which go into effect on Tuesday, May 4 at 12:01 a.m. ET (0401 GMT), were imposed on the advice of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and were imposed due to “the magnitude and scope of the COVID-19 pandemic” in India was “surging,” according to the White House.
Biden signed a proclamation enforcing the restrictions, which were first reported by Reuters, on Friday.
According to the proclamation, India “accounts for more than one-third of new global cases,” and “proactive measures are required to protect the nation’s public health from travellers entering the United States” from India.
Biden issued a similar ban on most non-U.S. citizens entering the country who had recently visited South Africa in January. He also reinstated an entry ban on nearly all non-U.S. visitors who had visited Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the 26 European countries with open borders. The policy also applies to China and Iran.
According to the policy, most non-U.S. citizens who have visited one of the listed countries within the last 14 days are ineligible to travel to the United States. Permanent residents and family members, as well as some other non-citizens, such as students, are exempt.
According to sources, the decision to impose the latest travel restrictions was made quickly and within the last 24 hours.
The Indian Embassy in Washington did not respond immediately.
India, which is second only to the United States in total infections, has reported more over 300,000 new cases daily for nine days in a row, setting a new global record of 386,452 on Friday.
As virulent new strains have combined with “super-spreader” events such as political rallies and religious festivals, total deaths have surpassed 200,000, and cases have approached 19 million – nearly 8 million in February alone – as virulent new strains have combined with “super-spreader” events such as political rallies and religious festivals.
According to medical experts, the actual figure could be five to ten times higher than the official figure.
Other countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and Singapore, have imposed similar travel restrictions on India. In contrast, Canada, Hong Kong, and New Zealand have suspended all commercial travel with India.
The White House announced on Wednesday that the US was sending supplies worth more than $100 million to India to aid in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.
Oxygen cylinders, N95 masks, and rapid diagnostic tests are among the supplies. According to the White House, the US has also redirected AstraZeneca AZN.L manufacturing supplies to India, allowing it to produce more than 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Almost all air travellers arriving in the United States must show proof of a negative coronavirus test or recovery from COVID-19.
In recent weeks, the White House and U.S. agencies have begun discussions about how to eventually unwind the policy as vaccination campaigns roll out and cases in some countries decline.
According to the industry trade group Airlines for America, international air travel in the United States is still down 60% from pre-COVID-19 levels, while domestic air travel is down 40%.
Airlines and travel organisations in the United States have urged the White House to establish benchmarks for eventual relaxation restrictions.