The US will limit inbound travel from India, a decision announced by the White House on Friday as the Indian government set another global record for daily coronavirus cases with more than 400,000.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said in a statement that the restrictions would begin Tuesday. While Psaki did not specify what restrictions would be imposed, they are expected to resemble other international travel restrictions, which prevent non-US citizens from entering the US if they have been in an affected country in the past 14 days.
The announcement from Biden’s government came the day India reported more than 300,000 new cases of Covid-19 for the ninth day in a row. Official data shows that about 3,000 people die from the disease every day, although most experts believe the actual number is much higher.
In her statement, Psaki said the White House took action following advice from the Centers for Disease Control, citing the “extraordinarily high Covid-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in India.” Kamala Harris, the US vice president whose mother immigrated to the US from India, said national security advisers had also recommended the move.
The US has already banned non-citizens from entering if they have been to several other countries in the past 14 days, including the UK, much of Europe, China, Iran and Brazil.
Other countries have already restricted travel from India in an effort to prevent the spread of the B.1.617 variant, which is believed to be the cause of much of the India outbreak.
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The UK announced last week that only British and Irish citizens could enter from India, and travelers should be isolated for 10 days in a government-approved hotel. Germany and Italy have taken similar measures.
The restrictions come days after the US announced a package of aid to help India fight the pandemic, including oxygen and materials to make vaccines.
“We have a responsibility as the United States, especially with regard to the people we have worked with over the years, to act when people are in a time of need,” said Harris. “We have a long, decades-old relationship with India, with the Indian population, especially around public health issues.”
The White House also announced this week that it would export 60 million doses of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not yet been approved for use in the US, to other countries. While the government has not yet confirmed which countries would receive the doses, US President Joe Biden has said he expected India to be one of them.
Additional reporting by Amy Kazmin in New Delhi