The U.S. will restrict travel from India beginning May 4, as COVID-19 ravages the world’s second-largest country.
The White House announced the new policy on Friday afternoon. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already declared India “very high risk,” and recommended that Americans avoid all travel to India.
“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’s office said in a statement. “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.”
According to a presidential proclamation, the restriction applies to “nonimmigrants” and “noncitizens” who were in India during the 14-day period prior to attempting to enter the U.S. The restrictions do not apply to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, among other exceptions.
The United States’ first shipment of emergency medical aid supplies arrived in India on Friday, as the country has reported more than 300,000 new cases each day for the last week. India’s health care system received more than 400 oxygen cylinders, nearly a million test kits and other supplies.
Vice President Kamala Harris addressed the new restrictions Friday.
“So, on the issue of India, the – we have announced that there’s going to be a travel restriction starting on Tuesday on the advice of the Centers of Disease Control,” she said. “Our COVID-19 experts, medical experts, our national security advisers. It is important to note, as I said earlier, that we have a responsibility as the United States in particular as it relates to the people that we have partnered with over the years.”
India reports that more than 200,000 people there have died from COVID-19, but the real figure is believed to be higher. The U.S. has still not agreed to release doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine or any other vaccine to India, although President Biden said earlier this week he’s discussed the matter with India’s prime minister.