Starting Tuesday, President Joe Biden will restrict travel from India as the country battles its deadly second wave of coronavirus infections.
The restriction comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised the President to do so, NBC News reported.
The travel ban will not impact American citizens, lawful permanent residents, or other exempted individuals, a White House official stated.
However, people who fall under this exception will have to provide a negative coronavirus test before travel, quarantine if unvaccinated, and test negative again when they enter the U.S. The requirements are the same for all international travelers.
“The police will be implemented in light of extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in India,” Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, stated.
America is not alone in restricting travel from India; the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, New Zealand, and others have also imposed restrictions on India over the recent days.
India had over 200,000 COVID-19 related deaths this week, the outlet reported. It is now the fourth country to reach this total. Some experts feel the number may be underreported. India has reported nearly 18 million cases of coronavirus.
The spike in cases has strained India’s hospitals to a breaking point and caused a shortage in oxygen, hospital beds, and other vital supplies.
India happens to be one of the world’s largest vaccine producers, but it has struggled to secure enough to supply its population of nearly 1.4 billion people.
Experts have been vocal about global vaccine inequality. Wealthy countries like the United States have had no problem staying ahead of the vaccine race, but the unequal distribution of the vaccine could prolong the pandemic for everyone as more variants mutate.
Biden spoke to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. Administration officials stated they would be sending a range of supplies to the country, including oxygen equipment, raw materials used in vaccine production, rapid testing kits, and the treatment Remdesivir.