Biden to restrict travel from India amid coronavirus surge

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will limit journey from India beginning Tuesday on the recommendation of the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention as India battles a lethal second wave of coronavirus infections.

The coverage is not going to apply to Americans, lawful everlasting residents or different exempted people, in line with a White Home official. Folks in these classes will nonetheless have to check destructive previous to journey, quarantine if unvaccinated and retest as destructive upon coming into the U.S., as is required for all worldwide vacationers.

“The coverage can be carried out in mild of terribly excessive COVID-19 caseloads and a number of variants circulating within the India,” White Home press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned in an announcement.

The UK, Canada, Germany, France and New Zealand, amongst different international locations, have imposed related journey restrictions on India in current days.

The brand new journey restrictions underscore the challenges of tackling the coronavirus pandemic on a worldwide scale, at the same time as progress has been made in america.

India surpassed 200,000 Covid-19 deaths this week, turning into solely the fourth nation to take action, with some specialists warning that the demise toll is probably going larger than reported. Total, India has recorded about 18 million instances, second solely to america with greater than 32 million instances.

The surge in new infections has stretched India’s hospitals to the breaking level, resulting in a scarcity in oxygen, hospital beds and different crucial provides.

Vice President Kamala Harris touched upon the restrictions in feedback to reporters Friday afternoon.

“Because it pertains to the folks of India, we have now a long-standing, decades-old relationship with India, significantly in the case of public well being points,” Harris mentioned, including that she had not spoken to her prolonged household in India because the restrictions had been introduced.

Though India is without doubt one of the world’s largest vaccine producers, the nation has struggled to obtain sufficient to inoculate its inhabitants of almost 1.4 billion folks. Specialists have warned that whereas the U.S. and different rich international locations race forward of their vaccination rollouts, international vaccine inequality may lengthen the pandemic for everybody as virus variants mutate and may very well be extra infectious and evade Western vaccines.

Biden spoke to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, and administration officers mentioned they’re sending a variety of provides to the nation, together with oxygen gear, uncooked supplies utilized in vaccine manufacturing, fast testing kits and the remedy remdesivir.

Psaki mentioned two U.S. navy flights arrived in India on Friday carrying oxygen cylinders, fast diagnostic assessments, N95 masks and different provides. Harris advised reporters she hoped the provides would “present some degree of reduction.”

In January, Biden reinstated related journey restrictions on most non-U.S. vacationers from Brazil, Eire, the UK and 26 different European international locations that permit journey throughout open borders and issued new restrictions on journey from South Africa.

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