U.S. to restrict travel from India effective May 4 amid massive Covid surge

U.S. to restrict travel from India effective May 4 amid massive Covid surge

U.S. to restrict travel from India effective May 4 amid massive Covid surge

People wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) carry the body of a person who died from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), during a mass cremation, at a crematorium in New Delhi, India April 26, 2021.
Adnan Abidi | Reuters

The Biden administration will restrict travel from India as that country grapples with a gigantic surge in coronavirus cases, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.

The policy will take effect Tuesday, May 4, Psaki said in a statement. The administration made the decision on the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Psaki said.

While Covid infections and deaths have been on the decline in the U.S. as millions of Americans get vaccinated each day, India is in the grip of an unprecedented surge in cases.

India reported a record daily death toll from Covid on Wednesday. The country is averaging about 3,050 Covid deaths per day, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, though media reports indicate the official figure is being understated.

India has reported an average of about 357,500 new cases per day over the past seven days — up about 26% from a week ago, Johns Hopkins data show.

The country is battling a highly contagious Covid variant, known as B.1.617, which was first spotted in India. The variant, which contains two key mutations that have been found separately in other coronavirus variants, is believed by some to be behind the latest wave of infections.

The variant has since been identified in other countries, including the United States.

Asked about travel from India at a White House briefing on the pandemic earlier Friday, Covid response coordinator Jeff Zients said that the U.S. was “continuously monitoring the situation.” He added that America was “in very close contact with our foreign counterparts” and that it would “continue to follow the CDC’s science-based guidance on travel and other matters.”

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.