WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will restrict travel from India beginning May 4 on advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as India continues to battle a deadly second wave of coronavirus infections.
The United States will join the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, New Zealand, and other countries that have imposed travel bans on India in recent days.
“On the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Administration will restrict travel from India starting immediately,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Friday. “The policy will be implemented in light of extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in the India. The policy will take effect on Tuesday, May 4.”
The policy will not apply to American citizens, lawful permanent residents or other exempted individuals. Individuals traveling from India must test negative prior to leaving the country, quarantine if they have not been vaccinated, and test negative once again upon reentering the U.S. from India.
The news comes as India passed 200,000 Covid-19 deaths this week, becoming only the fourth country to cross that mark. The country recorded 386,452 Covid-19 cases on Friday and overall has crossed 18 million cases, second only to the United States with 32 million cases.
Despite India being one of the world’s largest vaccine producers, the country has struggled to vaccinate its population of 1.4 billion people. The surge in cases has put a strain on India’s hospitals, leading to a shortage in oxygen, hospital beds, and overcrowding in crematoriums.
More than 152 million vaccine doses have been administered in India and 26.7 million people have received their second doses, which is just two percent of India’s population being vaccinated.
Biden spoke to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier in the week and said the United States would supply “a range of emergency assistance, including oxygen-related supplies, vaccine materials, and therapeutics.”