US to ban most travel from India amid COVID-19 spike
The Biden administration will ban most travel from India starting Tuesday amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the country.
“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 Friday.
“The policy will be implemented in light of extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in the India,” she added.
“The policy will take effect on Tuesday, May 4.”
The move comes on top of international travel restrictions already in place requiring people to have a negative test result before coming to the United States. The move is not expected to apply to U.S. citizens.
The coronavirus outbreak in India has worsened considerably over the past weeks. New cases in the country have spiked to more than 380,000 in a single day, according to figures from Our World in Data.
The country has scrambled amid shortages of oxygen as the influx of COVID-19 patients puts mounting pressure on the Indian health care system.
Aid from the United States began arriving in the South Asian country on Thursday, including oxygen supplies and raw materials to make 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The Biden administration has also said it will send finished AstraZeneca vaccine doses to the country, but the movement will not be immediate because the finished shots need to pass Food and Drug Administration safety checks first.
The White House has also been deliberating a proposal backed by India to waive COVID-19 vaccine patents at the World Trade Organization, which supporters argue would give greater access to vaccines to lower-income countries.
The proposal is opposed by vaccine makers, and some experts have said technical know-how in making vaccines is the real barrier, not patents.
Psaki said earlier this week the administration had not made a decision on whether to support the waiver, and was weighing how best to help provide vaccines to the rest of the world.
Updated at 2:54 p.m.
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