Joe Biden on Friday imposed new travel restrictions on India

Author : flamengsis
Publish Date : 2021-05-01 03:59:27


Joe Biden on Friday imposed new travel restrictions on India

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday imposed new travel restrictions on India in light of the COVID-19 epidemic, barring most non-U.S. citizens from entering the United States.

The new restrictions, which take effect on Tuesday, May 4 at 12:01 am ET (0401 GMT), are on the advice of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and were imposed because “the magnitude and scope of the COVID-19 pandemic” in India was “surging,” the White House said.

Biden on Friday signed a proclamation implementing the restrictions, which were first reported by Reuters.

The proclamation said India “accounts for over one-third of new global cases” and added that “proactive measures are required to protect the nation’s public health from travelers entering the United States” from India.

Joe Biden bans most travel to U.S. from India to limit COVID-19 spread

In January, Biden issued a similar ban on most non-U.S. citizens entering the country who have recently been in South Africa. He also reimposed an entry ban on nearly all non-U.S. travelers who have been in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and 26 countries in Europe that allow travel across open borders. China and Iran are also both covered by the policy.

The policy means most non-U.S. citizens who have been in one of the stated countries within the last 14 days are not eligible to travel to the United States. Permanent U.S. residents and family members and some other non-U.S. citizens, such as students, are exempted.

The decision to impose the latest travel restrictions came about quickly and was only reached in the last 24 hours, sources said.

The Indian Embassy in Washington did not immediately comment.

Second only to the United States in total infections, India has reported more than 300,000 new cases daily for nine days in a row, hitting another global record of 386,452 on Friday.

Total deaths have surpassed 200,000 and cases are nearing 19 million - nearly 8 million since February alone - as virulent new strains have combined with “super-spreader” events such as political rallies and religious festivals.

Medical experts say real numbers may be five to 10 times higher than the official tally.

Other countries have imposed similar travel restrictions on India, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Singapore, while Canada, Hong Kong and New Zealand have suspended all commercial travel with India.

On Wednesday, the White House said the United States was sending supplies worth more than $100 million to India to help it fight the COVID-19 surge.

The supplies include oxygen cylinders, N95 masks and rapid diagnostic tests. The United States also has redirected its own order of AstraZeneca manufacturing supplies to India, which will allow it to make over 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, according to the White House.

AIR TRAVEL
Nearly all travelers to the United States by air must show proof of a negative coronavirus test or recovery from COVID-19.

In recent weeks, the White House and U.S. agencies have begun holding conversations about how to eventually unwind the policy as vaccination campaigns are rolling out and cases are declining in some countries.

U.S. international air travel remains down 60% from pre-COVID-19 levels, while U.S. domestic air travel is down 40%, according to industry trade group Airlines for America.

U.S. airlines and travel groups have urged the White House to set benchmarks for the eventual loosening of restrictions.


U.S. Will Restrict Travel From India Starting Tuesday

The Biden administration will restrict travel from India beginning Tuesday the White House said Friday, as concerns mount over a record surge in coronavirus cases there.

“On the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the administration will restrict travel from India,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. “The policy will be implemented in light of extraordinarily high Covid-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in India.”

An administration official said the ban on travel from India wouldn’t apply to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and other exempted individuals, such as humanitarian workers. But those individuals would still need to meet testing and quarantine requirements currently in effect for international travelers should they enter the U.S. The travel ban is indefinite until lifted by President Biden.

A spokesman for the Indian Embassy had no immediate comment.

The announcement comes as India set a global record for new infections, prompting several countries to impose similar travel restrictions. The U.K., Canada, Germany, France and Australia were among the growing list of countries to ban most travelers from India in recent weeks.

India reported another world record of 386,452 new daily infections on Friday, bringing the country’s total number of cases to more than 18 million. The death toll stood at 208,330 as of Friday, but public health experts believe total fatalities to be undercounted.

The U.S. and other governments have ramped up humanitarian assistance to India amid the crisis, which has overwhelmed the country’s hospitals and led to many people dying on the pavement waiting to be seen. India has also experienced a massive shortage in oxygen and related supplies, and the government is struggling to vaccinate people amid the surge.

Vice President Kamala Harris, the first person of Indian descent to serve in the role, told reporters Friday the wave in India was “a great tragedy.”

“We as a country have made a commitment to the people of India to support them,” Ms. Harris said. “But it is tragic.”

The State Department said Friday it would send one of its most senior diplomats to India. Daniel Smith, who served as acting secretary of state in January before Antony Blinken was confirmed, will serve as interim chargé d’affaires in India. The move “underscores U.S. commitment to working with India to advance our shared priorities, including the well-being of the Indian and American people during the pandemic crisis,” department spokesman Ned Price said.

The Biden administration initially drew criticism for being slow to respond to the situation, but has since announced more than $100 million in emergency relief.

Ms. Psaki said two U.S. military assistance flights carrying supplies had landed in India on Friday. The initial shipments included hundreds of oxygen cylinders, regulators and pulse oximeters, roughly 184,000 rapid diagnostic tests and approximately 84,000 N95 masks, she said.

The overall U.S. aid package announced by the White House this week includes 15 million N95 masks, 1 million rapid diagnostic tests, thousands of oxygen-related supplies, therapeutics and materials to manufacture more vaccines.

United Airlines Holdings Inc. and Air India are the only two airlines currently offering nonstop flights between the U.S. and India.

United’s four daily round-trip flights have been fairly full recently, according to people familiar with the matter. A United airline spokesman said in a statement that it will comply with the new restrictions.

“The safety of our customers and employees is our top priority and we will comply with all government regulations and travel orders,” United said. “United is proud of the essential air service we provide to connect our two countries and we’ll continue to support India during this time of need.”

Since the start of the pandemic, the U.S. has also banned most travelers from the U.K., the European Union, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, China and Iran.


EXCLUSIVE-Biden set to ban most travel to U.S. from India to limit COVID-19 spread

The new restrictions are on the advice of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and are imposed "in light of extraordinarily high COVID-19.

Total deaths have surpassed 200,000 and cases are nearing 19 million - nearly 8 million since February alone - as virulent new strains have combined with "super-spreader" events such as political rallies and religious festivals.

Medical experts say real numbers may be five to 10 times higher than the official tally.

Other countries have imposed similar travel restrictions on India, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Singapore, while Canada, Hong Kong and New Zealand have suspended all commercial travel with India.

Permanent U.S. residents and family members and some other non-U.S. citizens are permitted to return to the United States under the order. (Reporting by David Shepardson, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

The move comes as India set a global record for new infections. In the U.S., cases are broadly falling and 30% of the country’s population is now fully vaccinated.

In the U.S., newly reported coronavirus cases rose slightly from a day earlier, but are broadly declining. With 30% of the population now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, inoculations are nearing a key threshold to help curb infections, but the pace has begun to slow.

Pfizer and partner BioNTech will begin shipping their vaccine in smaller packages next month, which could ease distribution and administration challenges for smaller vaccination sites.

As more Americans are vaccinated and as rules on social distancing are relaxed, interest in activities such as travel and live entertainment is starting to recover, new data suggest.

U.S. hears global demand for vaccines, but still studying how to allocate


The United States is hearing “huge demand” from countries around the world for vaccines not needed by Americans, but has not yet developed a criteria for allocating them, the U.S. State Department’s coordinator for global COVID-19 response, Gayle Smith, said on Friday.

The White House said on Monday the United States will start to share up to 60 million doses of AstraZeneca Plc’s (AZN.L) coronavirus vaccine with other countries, as soon as the next few weeks, but the Federal Drug Administration still needs to approve those doses.

Smith said on a call with reporters that Washington hasn’t decided yet on how to allocate those vaccines that will be shared with other countries, despite the clamor from allies like India, where the virus is surging.

“I think we certainly will be making a decision based on what impact we can have on the spread of the virus, where needs are most acute and what will be the most effective,” said Smith.

She said the situation in India was “very, very serious” but had not yet peaked and would need persistent attention for some time and the immediate aid that the United States was already providing, such as protective gear and vaccine manufacturing supplies.

“We’re also looking at other things that can be done to build up supply chains within India so there can be a more steady supply of all those things that are needed to manage this overtime,” Smith said.

Biden to restrict travel from India amid coronavirus surge
The restrictions were recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will go into effect Tuesday.

"As it relates to the people of India, we have a longstanding, decades old relationship with India, particula



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