White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden’s administration made its decision on advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The United States will restrict travel from India from May 4, the White House said on Friday, citing a devastating increase in COVID-19 cases in the country and the emergence of potentially dangerous variants of the coronavirus.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden’s administration made its decision on advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also read: Coronavirus | Pakistan bans travel from India for two weeks as number of cases rises

“The policy will be implemented in light of the extraordinarily high number of COVID-19 cases and the multiple variants circulating in India,” she said.

With 386,452 new cases, India has now reported more than 18.7 million cases since the start of the pandemic, just behind the United States. The health ministry also reported 3,498 deaths in the past 24 hours on Friday, bringing the total to 208,330 people. Experts believe both figures are underestimated, but it’s unclear by how much.

The US action comes days after Mr Biden spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the growing health crisis in his country and pledged to send aid immediately. The United States has already decided to send therapeutics, rapid viral tests and oxygen to India, as well as certain materials that the country needs to boost its domestic production of COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, a team of CDC public health experts are expected to be on the ground in India soon to help health officials slow the spread of the virus.

The White House waited for the CDC’s recommendation before deciding to restrict travel, noting that the United States already requires negative tests and quarantines for all international travelers. Other restrictions are in place on travel from China, Iran, European Union, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Brazil and South Africa, who are or have been hot spots for the coronavirus.

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