Biden restricts travel from India to the US
US President Joe Biden on Friday issued a proclamation, restricting travel to the United States of all non-citizens who have stayed in India in the past 14 days. The proclamation, which comes into effect on May 4, has been issued due to the high COVID-19 caseload. US nationals, those on Green Cards, their non-citizen spouses, and children below 21 years of age, are exempted.
Restrictions were suggested by CDC
The new travel restrictions have been imposed for an indefinite period and will require another presidential proclamation to end it. The decision has been taken at the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), within the Department of Health and Human Services, which determined India is experiencing widespread, person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
India reporting an average of three lakh cases everyday
The World Health Organization has reported that the Republic of India has had more than 1,83,75,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. India accounts for over one-third of new global cases. The number of new cases in India is accelerating at a rapid rate. There have been more than 300,000 average new daily cases in India over the past week.
Various variants of COVID-19 have been detected in India
A variant strain of the virus, known as B.1.617, is also circulating in India, along with other variant strains, including B.1.1.7, first detected in the United Kingdom, and B.1.351, first detected in the Republic of South Africa. The CDC advised that these variants have characteristics of concern, which may make them more easily transmitted and have the potential for reduced protection afforded by vaccines.
US's assistance to India in its time of need
Meanwhile, the United States has sent its first COVID-19 relief shipments to India. The shipment includes 440 oxygen cylinders and regulators. In addition, 960,000 Rapid Diagnostic Tests to identify infections early, and 100,000 N95 masks have also been shipped. The US is also providing 20,000 treatment courses of the anti-viral drug Remdesivir, 1,100 oxygen cylinders, and 1,700 oxygen concentrators.