New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: In wake of the exponential rise in COVID-19 cases in India and multiple variants circulating in the country, the US on Saturday imposed a ban on travel from India to the US from May 4. India is struggling with a second wave of the pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days, and hospitals are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.

“On the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Administration will restrict travel from India starting immediately,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday. “The policy will be implemented in light of extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in India. The policy will take effect on Tuesday, May 4,” Psaki said in a statement.

The US has put India on Level 4 Travel Advisory, the highest level issued by the Department of State. The current Level 4 Travel Advisory asks US citizens not to travel to India or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so due to the current health situation in the country.

However, shortly after announcing travel restrictions, the US also exempted several categories of students, academics, journalists and individuals from the India travel ban. According to the State Department, the travel ban exemption is in line with a similar exemption that the US has granted to some categories of travellers from Brazil, China, Iran and or South Africa.

Students seeking to commence studies in the fall, academics, journalists and individuals who provide critical infrastructure support in countries affected by a geographic COVID-19 restriction may qualify for the exception. This includes qualified applicants who have been present in India, Brazil, China, Iran, or South Africa.

The pandemic continues to limit the number of visas our embassies and consulates abroad are able to process, the State Department said. As always, visa applicants should check the website of the nearest embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information about visa appointment availability, it added.

This comes a day after the first consignment of the supplies was brought to Delhi in a C-5M Super Galaxy, while the second shipment was delivered by a C-17 Globemaster on Friday. The medical supplies included 423 oxygen cylinders with regulators, 210 pulse oximeters, 17 large oxygen cylinders, 8,84,000 Abbott rapid diagnostic test kits and 84,000 N-95 face masks, officials said.

On April 26, President Joe Biden expressed solidarity with India in its fight against COVID-19 and asserted that his country was determined to support its efforts by quickly deploying resources like therapeutics, ventilators and identifying sources of raw materials to be made available for the manufacture of Covishield vaccine.

(With Agencies Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan