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U.S. to restrict travel from India as COVID-19 surge devastates the country

The travel policy will take effect Tuesday (May 4).

India COVID-19 crisis CHANNI ANAND/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Biden administration will restrict travel from India as the country continues to deal with record high Coronavirus cases.

On Friday (April 30), Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said the policy will take effect early next week. “On the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Administration will restrict travel from India starting immediately,” Psaki said. “The policy will be implemented in light of extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in India. The policy will take effect on Tuesday, May 4.”

The U.S. will issue a 212(f) order, which restricts entry into the country for foreign citizens who have traveled to India within the past two weeks. Airlines have been notified of the decision as well. The policy will not apply to American citizens.

COVID-19 infections and deaths have reportedly declined in the United States as more Americans get vaccinated each day, however, India reported record daily cases and deaths from the virus on Wednesday (April 28) and Thursday (April 29).

According to CNBC, the country is averaging over 3,000 COVID-related deaths per day. India reported 357,000 new cases of Coronavirus per day for the past seven days, which Johns Hopkins data says is up 26% from a week ago. The World Health Organization (WHO) said that India accounted for 38% of all global COVID cases recorded in the week leading up to April 25.

Hospitals have run out of beds and crematoriums are burning hundreds of bodies through the night.

India is currently combatting a highly contagious COVID variant called the B.1.617. The variant was first found in the South Asian country and includes two mutations that have been found separately in other COVID strains.

Vice President Kamala Harris, who has family members still living in India, said that the U.S. will be sending a plane full of supplies, including oxygen, personal protective equipment, COVID test kits, vaccine materials and therapeutics, to the country to help.

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