Joe Biden 'to ban most travel from India' amid its raging Covid epidemic

President Joe Biden is reportedly set to impose travel restrictions on India in light of the South Asian country’s surging coronavirus epidemic.

Most people who are not US citizens will be barred from entering from India, a White House official told Reuters on Friday afternoon.

A formal announcement was expected sometime on Friday. The travel ban will reportedly start on Tuesday at 12.01am ET.

The new restrictions are being imposed with advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They come ‘in light of extraordinarily high Covid-19 case loads and multiple variants circulating in India,’ the White House official said.

Non-US citizens who have been in India within the last 14 days will not be able to travel to the US, the policy reportedly entails.

India has experienced more than 300,000 new coronavirus cases daily for nine consecutive days, and on Friday reached another global record of 386,542. It is second in infections only to the US, where the rate has dropped thanks to a massive vaccination campaign that on Friday had 100million Americans fully vaccinated.

Coronavirus deaths in India have surpassed 200,000 and it has recorded nearly 19million cases, with 8million since only February. New Covid-19 strains coupled with ‘super-spreader’ events like religious festivals and political demonstrations have fueled the swell. Yet India’s true Covid-19 case and death numbers may be five to 10 times higher than reported, according to medical experts.

The White House on Wednesday announced that the US is sending $100million worth of supplies to India to help fight the virus spread. Among the supplies are 1,000 oxygen cylinders, 1million rapid tests and 15million N95 masks.

In addition, the US is sending its AstraZeneca vaccine manufacturing supplies to India to produce more than 20million doses.

Biden imposed a similar ban on most non-US citizens from entering from South Africa, in January. The president also issued anew a ban on most non-US travelers coming from the UK, Brazil, Ireland and 26 countries in Europe that allow travel through nations without closed borders.

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