US eases travel advisory for India as COVID-19 cases decline
As India's COVID-19 outbreak subsides, the United States has eased the travel advisory for its citizens traveling to India. The recommendations now stand relaxed from Level 4 (no travel) to Level 3, which urges citizens to reconsider travel. The US government had placed India in the Level 4 category on May 5, when the latter was reeling under the second wave of the pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for India due to COVID-19, indicating a high level of infection load in the country, the US State Department said on Monday. Meanwhile, the improvement of the travel advisory can be seen as an acknowledgment of the COVID-19 situation in India, which has become better since May.
"Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated...Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations," the State Department said. Separately, the CDC website urged only vaccinated citizens to travel to India. Advising un-vaccinated travelers to avoid nonessential travel to India, the website says they are at risk of contracting COVID-19 variants.
Meanwhile, Canada said that it will allow fully-vaccinated travelers with recognized jabs from all countries from September. However, this will be subject to the overall pandemic situation. Notably, Canada had suspended all flights from India in April and has now extended it till August 21.
Besides India, the travel advisory for Pakistan was also eased on Monday from Level 4 to Level 3. In Pakistan's case, the CDC issued a Level 2 Travel Health Notice due to COVID-19, indicating a moderate level of the infection. However, the State Department maintained Level 3 risk for US citizens traveling to the country due to terrorism.
On Pakistan, the US State Department said, "Reconsider travel to Pakistan due to terrorism and sectarian violence. Exercise increased caution in Pakistan due to COVID-19. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory."
While India's COVID-19 cases are declining, the Centre and health experts have repeatedly asked citizens to practice caution as health experts believe the third wave of infections is looming large over the country. Government experts had also said that the next 125 days are critical for the nation. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) also expressed similar concerns last week.